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Myths and Facts of Sexual Assault, Canada

Dispelling Misconceptions and Promoting Awareness

Sexual assault and child sexual abuse are highly misunderstood crimes. Understanding the common misconceptions that are prevalent in our society along with the facts helps you better understand sexual assault and educate others:

MYTH: Most victims of sexual assault can prevent the assault from taking place by resisting.
Assailants commonly overpower victims through threats and intimidation tactics. Moreover, many victims lack the capacity to appreciate or understand they are being assaulted.

MYTH: Most Sexual Assaults are done by strangers
Statistics clearly show the vast majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone close to the victim

Victims can easily "get over" the effects of sexual assault or child sexual abuse
FACT: The effects of sexual assault are far reaching and can severely impact an individual's emotional stability, employment, and ability to form and maintain adult relationships.

Most sexual assaults are not planned in advance.
FACT: As many as 3/4ths of all sexual assaults involved some pre-planning by the asailant

Sexual assault is a commonly false-reported crime
FACT: Most statistics show approximately 2% or less of sexual assaults reported as false reports

Victims commonly dress in a way that increases their chances of being sexual assaulted
FACT: This appears to be uncommon as most assailants cannot remember what the victim was wearing

If a drunk girl consents to a sexual act, this consent is valid
FACT: It depends on how "drunk" the individual is and whether they are capable of understanding what they are consenting to

Most victims are young, attractive females
FACT: The elderly are commonly victims of sexual abuse.

Men are never sexual assaulted.
FACT: Sexual assault is more common for men than most believe, and boys are common victims of child sexual abuse

Sexual assault is a relatively rare form of abuse
FACT: As many as 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. This makes sexual assault one of the most common serious crimes.

  Most assailants have a history of mental or sexual problems
FACT: Many assailants appear to live highly normal/functioning lives

Assailants are typically poor, uneducated, of a certain race
FACT: There is no data indicating a typical profile of an assailant. Many assailants are otherwise upstanding citizens.

It is not sexual assault if the assailant and the victim are married
FACT: Any sexual acts that are not truly consented to constitute sexual assault regardless of the relationship between the victim and the assailant.

The victim must show physical injuries for it to legally be considered a sexual assault.
FACT: The presence or absence of physical injuries is irrelevant to the determination of whether an act is "legally" considered a sexual assault; however, physical injuries may be grounds for a heightened punishment or a finding of aggravated sexual assault.

Disclaimer: All information on this page is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice or presumed to be completely accurate, or infinitely up to date. If you have questions regarding your case, please contact a local lawyer immediately because there are time limitations on civil claims. Failure to contact a local lawyer immediately could prevent you from making a claim.

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