What to Do

What to Do if You Have Experienced Sexual Violence

Art Credit: @FrizzKid

Sexual violence is broad and includes a range of behaviours, such as sexual assault, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, sexual exploitation, and others.

Different experiences may suggest different courses of action. Contact the Centre for help understanding your options and next steps, and for assistance in navigating the supports and services available to you.

If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted

Go to a safe space:

Go somewhere you can feel safe and comfortable, like your own home, a friend’s place or with family. You can also go to the hospital or a shelter, or contact the Centre for support. You may also want to consider contacting the municipal police.

Get medical attention:

Even if you do not see or feel any injuries, it is important to get medical attention. Specialized care is available at local Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centres.

Care Centres can also collect forensic evidence. Evidence collection will not initiate a report to police or the University. For evidence collection:

  • It is best to visit a Care Centre within 72 hours.
  • Try to refrain from changing or taking a shower to preserve evidence.

It may still be possible to collect some evidence even if more than 72 hours have passed or you have showered and changed.

For all Types of Sexual Violence

Reach out for support:

Consider seeking support from someone you trust such as a friend, co-worker or family member. The Centre is also here for you. We provide referrals to on- and off-campus resources like counsellors, distress lines, group counselling, and more.

You may want both short- and longer-term support. Some people find therapy helpful. Others choose to connect to their faith community or to other cultural resources. We can help you find the right people to support your own healing.

Practice self-care:

At this time, a range of self-care and coping strategies may be useful including:

Breathing exercises:

Long, slow breaths release endorphins and promote relaxation, which can help if you feel distressed or anxious. Learn relaxation techniques here.