Sexual Assault

If you have experienced sexual assault or any other form of sexual misconduct, have received a disclosure of sexual misconduct, witnessed sexual misconduct or are supporting someone who has experienced sexual misconduct, you can seek individualized information, advice and assistance through the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact within or outside a relationship

It can include anything from unwanted sexual touching to forced sexual intercourse without a person’s consent, and also includes the threat of sexual contact without consent.

Sexual assault affects people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations

Most people know the person who assaulted them. They can be someone the survivor knows a little, such as a first date, or very well, such as a good friend or partner. Sexual assault can involve situations where sexual activity is obtained by someone abusing a position of trust, power, or authority. Many people do not tell anyone of their assault, or even realize it was an assault, until months or years later.


Sexual assault is a crime and is never the fault of the survivor

Sexual assault is a crime, whatever the past or present relationship between the people involved (married, living together, dating, friends, acquaintances, strangers). No one has the right to threaten or force another person to have sexual contact. No one has the right to abuse a position of trust, power, or authority to get another person to have sex.

Experienced by 15-25% of female students, 6.1% of male students, and 24% of transgender, genderqueer and questioning students

15 to 25% of female students1, 6.1% of male students2, and 24% of transgender, genderqueer and questioning students3 in college and university experience some form of sexual assault.

1 Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide for Ontario’s Colleges and Universities, Ontario Women’s Directorate, 2013

2 Krebs, C.P., Lindquist, C.H., Warner, T.D., Fisher, B.S., & Martin, S.L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice

3 Cantor, D., Fisher, B., et al. (2015). Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. Rockville, Maryland: The Association of American Universities.

Stand up against sexual assault

Everyone has a role to play in preventing sexual assault.

Get consent

Consent is a voluntary and enthusiastic "yes!" It's needed for every sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.

  • Can not be assumed or implied from silence or the absence of 'no.'
    There is no consent if the person doesn't reply.
  • Can not be given if a person is affected by alcohol or drugs, or is unconscious.
    There is no consent if someone is impaired, incapacitated, asleep, or passed out.
  • Is revocable at any time.
    Consent does not exist if someone has said 'yes,' but then says 'no' later with words or body language.


Learn more about consent

Have healthy, respectful relationships

Healthy relationships can bring out the best in people. A healthy relationship has at least five important qualities:

  • safety
  • honesty
  • acceptance
  • respect
  • enjoyment


Be an active witness

An active witness is someone who observes unacceptable behavior targeted towards someone else and is brave enough to take action.

Assess the situation

The first step to being an active witness is assessing the situation when you notice unacceptable behaviour:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Decide 'in your gut' if what you witness is unacceptable, and ask yourself if you can play a role.
  3. Assess the options and risks for taking action, and decide whether to act now or later.

If you or others are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, call 9-1-1


After assessing the situation, decide if and how you might intervene:

  • Interrupt the behaviour.
  • Use “I” statements: “I feel _____ when you ____. Please don’t do that anymore.”
  • Use humour when appropriate (e.g., “Ouch!”), or use body language or silence to show disapproval.
  • Change perspective: “What if someone just said that about someone you care about?”

Sexual assault is not the survivor's fault and is a violent crime. What clothes a person wore, where they were, who they were with, or whether they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their assault is irrelevant. The only person responsible for a sexual assault is the person who commits the crime.


Find support

Support is available for survivors of sexual assault, and it’s OK to ask for help.
Reaching out for help is a sign of strength.

  • UBC Okanagan Health and Wellness 250-807-9270
    (9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, University Centre UNC 337)
  • UBC Okanagan Campus Security 250-807-8111 (emergency)
  • UBC Okanagan Campus Security 250-807-9236 (non emergency)
  • 24-Hour Crisis line 1-800-784-2433
  • Emergency Services 9-1-1
  • Sexual Assault Help Line 1-877-392-7583 
  • 24-Hour Health Link BC Nurses Help Line 8-1-1
  • Kelowna General Hospital – Emergency Department
    2268 Pandosy Street
    Assessment and treatment of injuries, sexual transmitted infections, and pregnancy prevention as well as forensic evidence collection and emotional support. Student should be offered access to the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) upon disclosure at the hospital and receive specialized care. The team is specially trained to provide medical care and emotional support to anyone who has been sexually assaulted.

Whether you need support for yourself or you're concerned about someone else, the best thing you can do is reach out.

 If you have immediate safety concerns for yourself or others Call 9-1-1

Support survivors of sexual assault

If someone tells you they have been sexually assaulted:

Attend to safety

  • If someone is in immediate danger or needs urgent medical attention, call 9-1-1.

Provide support

  • Listen without interrupting. Encourage the survivor to take their time if necessary.
  • Understand that all individuals express or experience their reactions to an assault in different ways. Allow for tears and expression of feelings.
  • Validate the survivor's experiences or reactions. Respect the language they use. Believe and support the survivor.
  • Acknowledge courage and discomfort.
  • Remind the survivor they are not at fault.
  • Help the survivor identify safe individuals within their existing support system.
  • Encourage the survivor to seek the support they need and allow them to make their own decisions.
  • Ask what you can do to be supportive.

Last reviewed shim5/19/2017 10:12:10 AM