Frequently Asked Questions

What is sexual violence?

We use the term “sexual violence” as an umbrella term, as it broadly describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality that violates an individual and is typically about power and control, rather than sex.

Sexual violence takes different forms and can include: sexual abuse, assault, harassment, stalking, indecent or sexualized exposure, degrading sexual imagery, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, voyeurism, cyber harassment, trafficking, sexual exploitation, or any experience that the individual defines as sexual in nature.

We work beyond the scope of the Criminal Code definition of sexual assault, recognizing that any instance of sexual violence can be incredibly impactful, regardless of the legal definition.

What is consent?

Consent is when someone voluntarily gives permission to engage in sexual activity. Everyone involved in the sexual activity needs to consent. 

  • Consent can be taken back at anytime if you want to stop the sexual activity 
  • Consenting to one sexual activity does not mean you are consenting to another 
  • Providing consent to engage in sexual activity with someone does not mean you provided consent for future contact. 

Consent is required – without consent, any sexual contact is sexual violence. 

 

Who experiences sexual violence?

Acts of sexual violence are motivated by power inequalities, intolerance, hatred or discrimination of a person’s identity including race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, age, and social economic status.

Anyone may experience sexual violence and it is more predominantly experienced by those with disabilities, 2SLGBTQIA + people, Indigenous women, women of color, and those working in sex work.

Indigenous Women – are sexually assaulted three times more often than non-Indigenous Women. Reclaiming Power and Place: the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Canada, 2019. Web Archive. Pg. 55.

2SLGBTQIA+ People – Egale Canada reports “Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) women, as well as gender-diverse and Two Spirit people encounter discrimination, stigmatization, and traumatic experiences of violence at disproportionately higher rates than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts.” Reclaiming Power and Place: the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Canada, 2019. Web Archive. Pg. 56.

Women with Disabilities – experience physical and sexual violence at three to four times the rate of women who do not report disabilities. DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada; Odette, 2012.

Why is the term "survivor" used?

“Victim” is typically used when speaking about those who have experienced sexual violence in legal or medical settings. While it is not an inappropriate choice of words, we prefer to use “survivor”, as it awards more power to the individual whose resiliency has supported them to live through a difficult event, whereas “victim” focuses more upon something that was enacted upon them and elicits sympathy. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to determine how they would like to be referred and some may not identify with the term “survivor” and prefer to simply be called by their name.

Can sexual violence be experienced in a relationship?

Yes. Violence in relationships is when one person tries to dominate and/or control their partner through actual or threatened abuse including sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial abuse. Violence can occur by a current or former partner. It can happen between any partners regardless of gender or sexual orientation. 

Also referred to as intimate partner violence, domestic violence and dating violence. 

Support 

24 Hour Manitoba Family Violence Crisis Line 1-877-977-0007. 

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. 

Nova House is located in Selkirk, MB. It is an emergency and transitional shelter for those experiencing violence. They also provide individual counselling and support groups.
Nova House 24 hour Local Crisis Line Local Crisis Line 204-482-1200.
Nova House 24 hour Crisis Text line 204-805-6682.

First Nation Healing Centre Inc. is located in Fisher River Cree Nation. It is an emergency shelter for those experiencing violence and provides support groups. They also offer a 7-week Healing Our Spirits Program.
24 Hour Crisis Line 1-800-692-6270. 

For support across Manitoba 

Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters: https://maws.mb.ca/ 

First Nation Shelters in Manitoba: https://circlingbuffalo.ca/first-nation-shelters-in-manitoba/

SafePet Program – helps those leaving abusive partners by providing temporary housing for their pets.

What support is available to someone who has experienced sexual violence?

Survivor’s Hope’s SARAH Counselling program is long-term free counselling for those impacted by sexualized violence, both directly and indirectly.  For more information: SARAH Counselling

For advocacy and support when completing police reports or seeking medical care, you can ask for a SARAH Worker 24/7 at RCMP detachments and hospital emergency rooms throughout the Interlake-Eastern area. For more information: SARAH Crisis

For support over the phone for survivors and those who love them: 24/7 Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-292-7565

Additional resources can be found here: Resources

How can someone support a survivor of sexual violence?

When providing support for someone who has experienced sexualized violence, here are some important points to help guide you:

Believe them
– make it clear that you believe them and that this is not their fault.

Empower them
– listen to them without judgement or giving advice.

Maintain Confidentiality
– it is not your story to tell.
– Let them decide who they tell about their experience.

Remember that there are many reasons why someone may choose not to report their experience to police and there is no wrong decision.

Note: If the survivor is a minor there is a responsibility to report the abuse.

Resources for You & Them
Ask them if they need any other help or support, counselling or information. Survivor’s Hope Resources

Survivor’s Hope’s SARAH Counselling program is long-term free counselling for those impacted by sexualized violence, both directly and indirectly.  For more information: SARAH Counselling

For advocacy and support when completing police reports or seeking medical care, you can ask for a SARAH Worker 24/7 at RCMP detachments and hospital emergency rooms throughout the Interlake-Eastern area. For more information: SARAH Crisis

For support over the phone for survivors and those who love them: 24/7 Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-292-7565

Where can someone receive medical attention following an experience of sexual violence?

Anyone who has experienced sexual violence can receive medical care at a primary care doctor’s office, a hospital, or walk in clinic.  

It is always the survivor’s decision what type of medical care they would like to receive and have the option to stop or skip any part. Medical care may include:  

  • Assessing & treating internal and external injuries 
  • Testing & treatment for Sexually Transmitted Blood Borne Infections (STBBIs)  
  • Testing for pregnancy and receiving emergency contraception (Plan B)
  • Receiving other forms of Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (medications used to prevent infections)  
  • Sexual Assault Evidence Kits

 

Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK)

Medical staff can collect evidence including swabs, blood samples, DNA samples, and photos. If someone consents to a SAEK, they can chose to: 

  • Involve police to use the SAEK in an investigation. 
  • Have the SAEK done but don’t involve police. 
    • In the Interlake-Eastern area, the RCMP will attend at the hospital to bring the SAEK, however, speaking to police or providing formal statements is optional.  In many medical facilities the SAEK can be stored for a period of time which allows the survivor the option to involve the police at a later date. This is called Forensic & Hold.

If possible, survivors can try to protect evidence prior to a SAEK by: 

  • Avoiding showering or bathing 
  • Avoiding changing clothing 
  • Avoiding brushing hair 
  • Avoiding drinking or eating (removing evidence from the mouth)

For advocacy and support when completing police reports or seeking medical care, you can ask for a SARAH Worker 24/7 at RCMP detachments and hospital emergency rooms throughout the Interlake-Eastern area. For more information: SARAH Crisis

What information should someone know about reporting to police?

Survivor’s of sexual violence have the right to decide whether or not they want to report any experience to police and may choose not to for a variety of reason.  There is no wrong decision. Options include:

  • Choosing not to report to police at all.
  • Choosing not to report to police right now.  There is no statute of limitations on sexual assault in Canada and reports can be made years later, if someone so chooses.  If possible, details can be written down or told to a trusted other, so they are remembered to later provide to police. 
  • Reporting to police by contacting local RCMP or police station – with or without a SAEK (evidence collection).  
  • Report the sexual assault through third party reporting.

In certain cases, police may be required to investigate information that they learn.  For example:

  • If someone younger than 18 years old experienced harm, the police are required to investigate.
  • If someone experienced violence in an intimate partner relationship (past or present), the police are required to investigate the incident.  If the police decide there is evidence that a crime has been committed, they may lay charges.

For advocacy and support when completing police reports or seeking medical care, you can ask for a SARAH Worker 24/7 at RCMP detachments and hospital emergency rooms throughout the Interlake-Eastern area. For more information: SARAH Crisis

Is there compensation for someone who has experienced a crime?

Manitoba Justice Victim Services supports victims of crimes including victims and survivors of intimate or domestic violence and sexual assault, and families of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls (persons). Victims Services can support survivors by helping understand their rights and connecting them with other agencies and resources to help understand the justice system. 

For more information: https://www.gov.mb.ca/justice/vs/ 

The Compensation for Victims of Crime (CVCP)  program provides compensation to victims, witnesses and families of victims of a crime committed in Manitoba.  

For more information: https://www.gov.mb.ca/justice/vs/cvc/index.html