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Sexual Assault

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is when a person is forced or coerced into sexual activity. It can include non-consensual kissing, fondling, grabbing, and oral, anal or vaginal penetration. Forcing or coercing someone to touch you sexually is also sexual assault. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, female or male. It may be committed by someone you know (spouse, partner, family member, roommate, date) or by a stranger. Acquaintance sexual assault is more common than assault by a stranger.

Acquaintance sexual assault often occurs when one or more of the parties involved has been drinking or using drugs; in such circumstances inhibitions and communication skills may be diminished. Using alcohol or drugs does not excuse sexual assault, nor does it make the person assaulted in any way responsible for the assault.

Common responses to sexual assault:

  • Shock
  • Anxiety 
  • Isolation 
  • Denial
  • Substance abuse 
  • Obsessive behaviour 
  • Recklessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness 
  • Helplessness 
  • Depression

To give adult survivors of sexual assault better support, the province of Nova Scotia created the Legal Advice for Sexual Assault Survivors program.

The program respects survivors’ privacy and their right to make their own decisions. Registering is done through an independent agency, 211 Nova Scotia, and participants do not have to report to police or take legal action if they use this service.