The Devastation of Sexual Assault
Prepared by the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
Introduction Sexual assault is a crime that is devastating on many levels - physically, emotionally and psychologically. Sexual assault is an act of aggression, power and anger. It is about exerting control over someone else. Sexual assault is a traumatic violation of the body, mind and spirit. It profoundly affects a person's health and well-being. Trust, vulnerability and intimacy are seriously impacted when a person is sexually assaulted. Sexual violence can happen in any relationship when one person has the potential to have power and control over another. This can include same-sex relationships, as well as opposite-sex relationships. Sexual assault can also occur between an adult and a child and is known as child sexual abuse. What is sexual assault? Sexual assault is a form of assault that involves any type of unwanted sexual activity. A sexual assault occurs when consent has not been given and the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. It may include the use of physical force, threats or intimidation. Sexual assault is a crime and Canadian law recognizes that persons of both genders can be victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault is an assault, within the definition of s.265 (1) of the Criminal Code, which is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature. Sexual assault occurs when, a person intentionally "applies force" to another person; this is done without the victim's consent or voluntary agreement; and sexual activity is involved. There are also two other categories of sexual assault in the Criminal Code, including: - Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Threats to a Third Party or Causing Bodily Harm (s.272) - punishable by way of indictable offence and liable to a maximum term of 14 years imprisonment; and - Aggravated Sexual Assault (s.273) - this refers to a sexual assault during which an offender wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers...