If you have been subjected to Sexual Violence, know that it is not your fault.
We are here for you and can connect you to valuable services, help you determine and consider options; or we can simply be available listen. We will support you in whatever you choose to do.
If you have experienced sexual violence, we encourage you to:
GO to a safe place
GET medical attention
SEEK support and counselling
REPORT the incident
Okanagan College acknowledges that sexual violence against women, men and members of the LGBTQ2 community occurs and counselling services and support are available to everyone.
On-Campus Counselling Services (250-762-5445 ext. 4119) will provide support and assistance.
Off-Campus Support Services are available in all communities (click on the Off Campus Support Services tab on the left hand side of this page).
Consider getting mental health and emotional support. For students, Okanagan College offers counselling free of charge. For Okanagan College employees, counselling may be available through the Employee Family Assistance Program. There are also a number of community-based organizations and service providers which are available as resources.
It’s often difficult to disclose and report incidents of sexual violence. As a survivor/victim, it’s entirely up to you if you choose to report the incident. However, we strongly encourage you to do so.
If an employee of the College becomes aware of an allegation of sexual violence that involves any employees(s), the employee is required to report the alleged incident.
As a survivor/victim, you may also wish to press charges under the Criminal Code of Canada by calling your local police detachment. The Department of Security and Crisis Management can assist you in contacting local police.
If you wish to discuss your options confidentially before reporting, you’re encouraged to meet with a counsellor in Counselling Services. Employees may choose to access the Employee Family Assistance Program for support or to seek independent advice.
If you are a victim of a sexual offence in British Columbia and are 19 or older, you may be able to report the crime through a third party so you remain anonymous to the police through the Third Party Reporting process. This type of reporting allows you to report the crime anonymously by contacting a designated community-based victims service in your area. Information on this procedure can be found HERE.
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(Image adapted with permission from the Ending Violence Association of BC and the BC Lions.)
Myth: It wasn’t rape, so it wasn’t sexual violence. Fact: Sexual assault and sexual violence encompass a broad range of unwanted sexual activity. Any unwanted sexual contact is considered to be sexual violence. Many forms of sexual violence involve no physical contact, such as stalking or distributing intimate visual recordings. All of these acts are serious and can be damaging.
Myth: Sexual violence can’t happen to me or anyone I know. Fact: Sexual violence can and does happen to anyone, but the vast majority of sexual assaults happen to women and girls. Young women, Aboriginal women and women with disabilities are at greater risk of experiencing sexual violence.
Myth: Sexual violence is most often committed by strangers. Fact: Someone known to the survivor/victim, including acquaintances, dating partners, and common-law or married partners commit approximately 75 percent of sexual assaults.
Myth: Sexual violence is most likely to happen outside in dark, dangerous places. Fact: The majority of sexual violence acts happen in private spaces like a residence or private home.
Myth: If an individual doesn’t report to the police, it wasn’t sexual violence. Fact: Just because a survivor/victim doesn’t report the violence doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Fewer than one in ten survivors/victims report the crime to the police
Myth: It’s not a big deal to have sex with someone while they are drunk, stoned or passed out. Fact: If a person is unconscious or incapable of consenting due to the use of alcohol or drugs, they cannot legally give consent. Without consent, it is sexual assault.
Myth: If the person chose to drink or use drugs, then it isn’t considered sexual violence. Fact: No one can consent while drunk or incapacitated.
Myth: If the survivor/victim didn’t scream or fight back, it probably wasn’t sexual violence. Fact: When an individual is sexually assaulted they may become paralyzed with fear and be unable to fight back. The person may be fearful that if they struggle, the perpetrator will become more violent.
Myth: If you didn’t say no, it must be your fault. Fact: People who commit sexual violence are trying to gain power and control over their victim. They want to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for their victim to say no. A person does not need to actually say the word “no” to make it clear that they did not want to participate. The focus in consent is on hearing an unforced, uncoerced “yes”.
Myth: If a person isn’t crying or visibly upset, it probably wasn’t a serious sexual assault. Fact: Everyone responds to the trauma of sexual violence differently. Survivors/victims may cry or may be calm. They may be silent or very angry. Behaviour is not an indicator of their experience. It is important not to judge a survivor/victim by how they respond to the violence.
Myth: If someone doesn’t have obvious physical injuries, like cuts or bruises, they probably were not sexually assaulted. Fact: Lack of physical injury does not mean that a person wasn’t sexually assaulted. An offender may use threats, weapons, or other coercive actions that do not leave physical marks. The person may have been unconscious or been otherwise incapacitated.
Myth: If it really happened, the survivor/victim would be able to easily recount all the facts in the proper order. Fact: Shock, fear, embarrassment and distress can all impair memory. Many survivors attempt to minimize or forget details of the violence as a way of coping with trauma. Memory loss is common when alcohol and/or drugs are involved.
Myth: Individuals lie and make up stories about being sexually assaulted; and most reports of sexual violence turn out to be false. Fact: According to Statistics Canada, fewer than one in 10 sexual assault victims report the crime to the police. Approximately only 2 percent of sexual assault reports are false. Sexual violence carries such a stigma that many people prefer not to report.
Myth: Persons with disabilities don’t get sexually assaulted. Fact: Individuals with disabilities are at a high risk of experiencing sexual violence or assault. Those who live with activity limitations are over two times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than those who are able-bodied.
Myth: A spouse or significant other cannot sexually assault their partner. Fact: Sexual violence can occur in a married or other intimate partner relationship. The truth is, sexual violence occurs ANY TIME there is not consent for sexual activity of any kind.
Myth: People who are sexually assaulted “ask for it” by their provocative behaviour or dress. Fact: This statement couldn’t be more hurtful or wrong. Nobody deserves to be sexually assaulted. Nobody asks to be sexually assaulted. Ever. No mode of dress, no amount of alcohol or drugs ingested, no matter what the relationship is between the survivor and the perpetrator or what the survivor's occupation is, sexual violence is always wrong.
Myth: Sexual violence only happens to women. Fact: Not true. The majority of sexual violence acts are committed against women by men, but people of all genders, from all backgrounds have been/can be assaulted.