Written by Katherine Fischer
Photo by Sarah Davison
As an ally of sexual assault, I have seen many friends struggle with the aftermath of an act of sexual violence and what it can do to someone’s life.
Here are 10 things you need to know about sexual assault
About 70% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.
It is a myth that rapists are usually masked men, hiding in the bushes and waiting to attack. Most offenders are known to the victim, with many of them being intimate partners of the victim.
“Yes” is the ONLY thing that means consent.
It does not matter if you know the person, you are both drunk, or if they seem into it. “Yes” is the only thing that means yes. If there is no yes, there is no consent.
Only 2% of rape accusations are false.
Disbelief is a huge problem faced by victims. The small percentage of false accusations is on par with the false accusation rate of most other crimes.
Out of every 1000 sexual assaults, only 3 lead to convictions.
Sexual assault has an extremely low conviction rate, at less than 0.5%. Victims are often scared to report their case because of this.
Out of every 1000 sexual assaults, only 33 are reported to police
Less than 5% of victims report their assaults to police. The stigma surrounding victims often keeps them from reaching out.
42% of college women who are victims of rape don’t tell anyone about their assault.
Almost half of college women keep silent about their rape and don’t tell anyone.
4 in 5 rape victims will suffer from physical and psychological conditions due to their assault.
There can be a range of injuries a rape victim may face - both physical and psychological. Many victims will experience PTSD, depression and chronic pain after their assault.
Survivors of rape are more likely to attempt suicide.
Rape survivors are 13x more likely to attempt suicide than someone who has not been a victim of rape.
Men are also victims of sexual violence.
Although women are more likely to be sexually assaulted, about 1 in 6 men will experience an act of sexual violence at sometime in their life.
The perpetrator is the ONLY person responsible for rape.
It can not be blamed on alcohol, flirting, clothing or the victim - the only person responsible for rape is the rapist.
For more information on sexual assault and support for victims:
Assaulted Women’s Helpline: http://www.awhl.org/
Sexual assault centre of Hamilton Area: http://sacha.ca/resources/statistics
Canadian Mental Health Association: http://www.cmha.ca/