WE BELIEVE YOU.

Okanagan College is committed to fostering supportive campuses promoting assistance, intervention and consent. If you have been affected by sexual violence or know someone who needs assistance we are here to help with support, information and resources. 

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If you have been subjected to Sexual Violence know that it is not your fault. We are here for you to connect you to valuable services, help you determine and consider options, or simply be available to 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 occurs against women, men and members of the LGBTQ2 community. Counselling services and support are available to everyone.

Consider seeking medical care at a local hospital. If possible do not change clothes, bathe, or brush your teeth until evidence is collected. A complete medical evaluation will include evidence collection, a physical examination, and treatment. Please note you will have the opportunity to opt out at any time during the medical evaluation.

Consider getting mental health and emotional support. Okanagan College offers counselling free of charge for students. Okanagan College employees may have counselling available through the Employee Family Assistance Program. There are also a number of community-based organizations and service providers available as resources.

It can be difficult to disclose and report incidents of sexual violence. As a survivor/victim it is entirely up to you if you choose to report the incident. Your decision will be supported.

You have the choice to decide whether or not to report a sexual assault.

  • It’s important to know the difference between a disclosure and a report.
  • A disclosure means that you want to share information about a sexual assault with another person.
  • A report is a written statement about the sexual assault that may lead to an investigation.

You can disclose a sexual assault without making a report and still get support from the College.

If you just want to talk, contact a counsellor in Counselling Services for support and to discuss options. Employees may choose to access the Employee Family Assistance Program for support or seek independent advice.

If you wish to file a Report to the College you will need to make a written statement to one of the people listed in the College’s Reporting Sexual Violence information

If you would like to make a report to the police you will need to contact the police detachment in the community where the assault occurred.

Or

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 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 victim service in your area. Information on this procedure can be found here.

Click here to view policy: Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy

A broad term that describes any violence (physical or psychological) carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, unwanted sexual comments or advances, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, degrading sexual imagery, distribution of sexual images or videos of a community member without their consent, and cyber harassment or cyber stalking of a sexual nature.

Generally, sexual assault means any unwanted, forced sexual contact. It can be committed by the use of threats or force or when someone takes advantage of circumstances that render a person incapable of giving consent, such as intoxication. Sexual assault not only includes rape, but can also include unwanted touching, fondling, or groping of sexual body parts.

Acknowledgements: The following is based on the Ontario Women’s Directorate resource, “Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Guide for Ontario’s Colleges and Universities”

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.

Give Support

All members of the Okanagan College community have the right to study, learn, and work in an environment free of sexual violence. Any and all reported acts of sexual violence will be addressed. Simply put, sexual violence is not tolerated at Okanagan College.

BE B.R.A.V.E

B - Believe them
Remind them it’s not their fault.

R - Respect confidentiality
Ensure they understand how and when you will share information they have provided to you.

A - Ask them what support looks like for them
Let go of assumptions. Reporting to police is not every survivor’s vision of justice.

V - Value their boundaries
Don’t pry or press for additional details.

E - Empathize
Understand everyone deals with trauma differently and that everyone’s healing path is different.

How to help others

Sexual assault can happen to anyone. Survivors are more likely to disclose sexual assault or other forms of sexual violence to someone they know and trust. Survivors have the right to make their own choices. Support the choices they make - whatever they decide. Tell them clearly… We Believe You... and direct them to supportive resources.

If someone discloses sexual assault or other forms of sexual violence to you:

Students, faculty and staff may share information with you about an incident of sexual violence.

This is a disclosure.

Encourage survivors to seek safety and support. If the person has been assaulted within the last 7 days, there is a special team of nurses and/or doctors at the hospital who can help. They may need medical attention even if they don’t have visible signs of injury. If the person has been drugged, choked, strangled or has difficulty breathing, swallowing or speaking, refer them to the nearest hospital immediately.

The closest hospitals to our campuses are:

Kelowna General Hospital
Physicians on call 24 hours a day
Sexual Assult Service
2268 Pandosy St. Kelowna, BC
Phone: 250-862-4000

Penticton Regional Hospital
Physicians on call 24 hours a day
550 Carmi Ave. Penticton, BC
Phone: 250-492-4000  
Vernon Jubilee Hospital
Nurses are on call 24 hours a day
Sexual Assault Service
2101 32 St. Vernon, BC
Phone: 250-545-2211 
Salmon Arm - Shuswap Lake General Hospital
Emergency Care
601 - 10th St. NE, Salmon Arm, BC
Phone: 250-833-3600 

Student Counselling Services or Human Resource – Employee Assistant Program can help:

  • Find a safe place to stay
  • Arrange academic concessions e.g. extensions
  • Coordinate workplace accommodation e.g. arranging leave
  • Explain reporting options
  • Accompany people to the hospital, police or court

Refer the student to the counselling services on the student’s home campus.

You have the choice to decide whether or not to report a sexual assault.

  • It’s important to know the difference between a disclosure and a report.
  • A disclosure means that you want to share information about a sexual assault with another person.
  • A report is a written statement about the sexual assault that may lead to an investigation.

You can disclose a sexual assault without making a report and still get support from the College.

If you just want to talk, contact a counsellor in Counselling Services for support and to discuss options. Employees may choose to access the Employee Family Assistance Program for support or to seek independent advice.

If you wish to file a Report to the College, you will need to make a written statement to one of the people listed in the College’s Reporting Sexual Violence information. 

If you would like to make a report to the police, you will need to contact the police detachment in the community where the assault occurred.

Or

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.

Click here to view policy: Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy

Understanding Consent

Education

NOT ANYMORE - A VIDEO SERIES

Sexual violence has no place at our College and everyone can do at least one thing to prevent sexual violence in our community.

Learn more through the NOT ANYMORE video series that all OC students and employees can access through the Safecolleges website.

1. New users – please access the registration page below

Not Anymore - Start
From here you will be asked to create a username and enter your first and last name (you can use your initials).
This information is gathered strictly for statistical purposes only.
Please remember your username so that you can re-access this site at any time.

2. Returning users - please access through the login below and enter the username you created when you first registered.

Not Anymore- Login

A Certificate of Completion is available to students who finish watching the NOT ANYMORE video series and complete the quiz.

3. Extra training videos - click on "Extra Training" in the site to access these programs

  • Bystander Intervention- Every Choice
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Prescription Addiction
  • Clarifying Consent
  • Rethinking Relationships
  • Verbal Defense and Relationships

Book a counselling appointment

Consent

Let's get consensual!

Along with Okanagan College’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy and supports available to survivors, the Student Associations are promoting awareness and dialogue on campus about the issue of consent. Check out some of the consent videos and information on this page.

Consent

Is an affirmative, enthusiastic YES. It is ongoing and freely given!

  • Sexual Violence is any unwanted sexual contact.
  • It can happen within or outside a relationship.
  • Sexual violence affects people of all ages, genders and sexualities
female with skateboard ignoring male grabbing her arm

The absence of a "no" or silence is not consent.

two males standing with arms around each other

When he said he changed his mind, I stopped. Consent is ongoing and can be withdrawn at any time.

female sitting on bed

Only a person who is sober can consent.

Consent facts

Consent is an agreement that 2 people must make if they want to engage in sexual activity. Consent means that you willingly give permission, through your words, for something to happen. Your consent to the sexual activity must be freely given. You must be able to freely choose between two options: YES and NO.

You did not consent if you were afraid to fight back or if you were frozen with fear. You did not necessarily consent to sexual intercourse with someone because you held hands, kissed, or fondled each other. This means that consent to one sexual act does not constitute or imply consent to a different sexual act.

It is imperative that everyone understands the following:

Silence or non-communication must never be interpreted as consent and a person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consent;

  • A person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate;
  • A person who has been threatened or coerced (i.e. is not agreeing voluntarily) into engaging in sexual activity is not consenting to it;
  • A person who is drugged is unable to consent;
  • A person is usually unable to give consent when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs;
  • A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability preventing them from fully understanding the sexual acts;
  • The fact that consent was given in the past to a sexual or dating relationship does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity;
  • A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter;
  • A person is incapable of giving consent to a person in a position of trust, power or authority, such as, a faculty member initiating a relationship with a student who they teach or an administrator in a relationship with anyone who reports to that position; and
  • Consent cannot be given on behalf of another person.