Sexual assault is when there is unwanted sexual contact or sexual attention, this includes coercion and harassment.
Rape and sexual assault can happen in relationships. In fact 85% of teens who are sexually assaulted are assaulted by someone they know like a partner, friend or family member.
When it comes to sexual situations…
It’s important that everyone involved is into what’s happening. That means that we have to give consent or permission, which means that only yes means yes and everything else means no. So if someone says “no”, “maybe later”, changes the subject or doesn’t say anything at all, that means no.
You have the right to say no to sex at anytime, including right before or during, even if your partner really wants to have sex. If someone changed their mind during sex, it would need to stop. Sex can stop at anytime and for any reason. If someone noticed their partner wasn’t touching or kissing back, or had gotten quiet or still, they need to stop and check-in. If you`re unsure, always stop and ask. You could say something like: “You don’t seem really into this. Let’s stop. What’s up?”
We know that consent can be a lot more complicated than just saying “yes” and that people don’t always talk about touching/sex before it happens. Sometimes people communicate non-verbally, through eye contact and body language. The thing is, when you actually talk about sex out loud, you are more likely to ensure that there is respect.
- If someone doesn’t say “yes”, coercing them into any sexual activity is sexual assault. Coercion is when someone pressures the other person to turn their “no” into a “yes”. This can include pressuring someone to sext or send sexy pictures. Just because people are in a relationship does not mean that they are owed sex any sexual activity. Although it might not feel great to have someone say no, it’s important that we respect that decision. Keep in mind that sexual activity is not just about ‘sex’. Sexual activity includes kissing, hugging, touching, etc. so any unwanted physical contact or sexual attention is assault.
Coercion also includes getting someone drunk or high in order to have sex with them. When people are drunk or high, they make decisions that they would not normally make. This also means that getting someone’s consent when they are not sober isn’t truly consent. The number one date rape drug is alcohol. A person that tries to get another person drunk or high in order to have sex with them is breaking the law. You have the right to press charges if you feel like you were taken advantage of even if both people were drunk or high. Just because someone chooses to use alcohol or drugs does not mean they are asking to be assaulted.
- What Can I Do?
Help is out there
If you have ever dealt with or are dealing with sexual assault it is never your fault and it can be important to talk to someone. The Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line is a great resource that people can call if they need to talk. It is open 24/7 and free to call from anywhere in Manitoba. Their phone number is 1-888-292-7565 or (204) 786-8631.
Questions About Sexual Assault