Health and WellnessJanuary is Sexual Assault Awareness Month at UBC

Sexual Assault Awareness Month
January is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) at UBC

Join the conversation, keep learning, and stand up against sexual assault. You can help end the violence.


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.

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.

Attend an event

Featured event: Denim Day

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
All day

You can join the conversation about sexual assault in many ways, including wearing denim and a Denim Day sticker on January 17th to show your support for ending sexual assault on campus. Spread the word to your friends and colleagues.

Get your sticker at the following locations:


Wear a Denim Day sticker

Wear denim and a Denim Day sticker on January 17 to show that you're standing up against sexual assault.

Get your sticker at the Health and Wellness Centre (UNC 337)

Why denim?

In 1998 an Italian court overturned a rape charge because the victim was wearing tight jeans. The ruling stated that because the victim's jeans were tight‑, she had to have helped remove them and as a result gave consent to her attacker.

Enraged by the verdict, people around the world launched into protest, showing support for the victim by wearing denim to their places of work.

Denim Day sticker


Tabling | All Month
Tuesdays in UNC and Thursdays in Fipke | 11am – 2pm
Come by our booth to ask us questions, hear about the month’s events, and to get information about how you can get involved.

Responding to Disclosure Work Shops
January 10 | 3pm – 4:30pm in UNC 336 – open to all students
January 29 | 3-4:30pm in UNC 334 – open to all staff and faculty
January 30 | 10am – 11:30am in UNC336 – open to all students
At this workshop, you will learn how trauma affects the mind and body, and how to support someone who discloses sexual assault. Participants will also practice how to respectfully respond to and support survivors and understand the difference between disclosure and reporting. This is an opportunity to learn how to be a part of a safer, caring campus community. Presented by Shilo St. Cyr, Director of SVPRO

SARA Zine Workshop | Jan. 15th
Junior Collegium | 1pm – 3pm
Come by to express your thoughts and opinions in a variety of artistic means – collage materials and art supplies will be provided! Those who are not able to make the physical session are more than welcome to submit work to our email at All work submitted throughout the year will be published into a free zine distributed in April.

This month’s theme: Campus Party Culture – what do we learn from movies and the media about parties? About virgin-shaming? About drinking and sex? What is the good, the bad, and the ugly of these realities?

Keynote Speaker Farrah Khan | January 16th
ART 103 | 4pm – 6pm
Farrah Khan is a nationally recognized counsellor, educator, and policy advisor, who has has spent two decades working to raise awareness about sexual violence. Farrah’s innovative research, passion, and sense of humour create an engaging dialogue that emphasizes pleasure and fun while addressing topics of consent and sexual assault prevention.
This event is open to all staff and students – Dinner will be provided

Q&A About Policy 131, and Sexual Assault Prevention, Response, and Investigations
January 24th | 1pm – 3pm | UNC 200 Ballroom
Ask the Shilo St. Cyr, Director of the Sexual Assault Preventions and Response Office, and Myrna McCallum, Director of Investigations, any questions you have about the new Policy 131 and UBC’s plans for preventing and responding to sexual assault on our campus. This event is open to everyone.

SVPRO Open House | January 31st
2pm – 4pm
Come familiarize yourself with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. It is located in Nicola Townhome 120. This event is open to everyone and snacks and drinks will be provided.


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.

  • Health and Wellness 250-807-9270 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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
  • 24-Hour Nurses Help Line 8-1-1

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.

For faculty and staff, learn more about assisting student survivors of sexual assault

Last reviewed shim1/16/2018 3:55:45 PM