How I can help
Quick Escape

Even as a bystander you can help stop sexual violence. If you witness an act of sexual violence, speak up and:

  • call the police if you witness a potential assault or other form of sexual violence
  • tell the police or restaurant/bar staff if you see anyone adding something suspicious to another person's drink
  • check in with your friends to see that they get home safely
  • say "no" if anyone tries to share private texts or snapchats they've received
  • refuse to join degrading conversations (including online ones) that keep sexism and sexual violence alive (and voice your disapproval)
  • report concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace to a supervisor or designated human resources person and keep notes on what you heard or saw

Keep yourself safe!

Contact the proper authorities in emergencies when you aren't comfortable directly intervening or you see an assault happening.

There's more than one way to help. Be an ally to the cause and:

  • never blame the survivor
  • support anyone who tells you they've been sexually assaulted
  • educate children about consent and healthy relationships

Visit finding help for a list of organizations you can talk to.

My friend was recently assaulted. What should I expect?

There is no "normal" reaction after someone has been sexually assaulted. Every person reacts with a different combination of symptoms and at a different rate of time. Just remember that what the victim feels is real, and remind that person that it’s NOT his or her fault.

Following a sexual assault, a person may feel:

  • angry
  • ashamed
  • afraid
  • confused or disoriented
  • badly about themselves
  • shock
  • withdrawn
  • powerless
  • helpless
  • sad
  • depressed
  • guilty
  • mood swings
  • unable to eat or sleep

My friend has asked me for help. What can I do?

Remember: The victim’s response may be different than you expect. The intensity and range of emotions can make it hard to talk about the assault. If someone comes to you about an assault, you should:

  • stay calm
  • be there to help
  • listen carefully, without interrupting
  • avoid asking “why” questions
  • believe the person
  • not judge or ask about who caused the harm
  • reassure your friend it is not his or her fault
  • encourage the person to get immediate medical help
  • maintain confidentiality and privacy

(Note: If your friend is under the age of 18, you may be required to make a report to Child and Family Services and/or the police.)

  • offer to help, but let your friend make the decisions
  • help by getting information on services in the community
  • ask your friend if he/she wants to report the assault to the police
  • reassure your friend that you are there to help and that healing is possible

One of the most important things for survivors of sexual assault to know is that they are not alone and there is help available. Every survivor is unique and will need to find the help that is right for him or her.

Professional counselling, support groups, friends and family can all play a part in helping a survivor during the period after an assault.