Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is never the fault of the victim.

If you have been a victim of a sexual assault, please visit our Sexual Assault Survivor Guide for information, processes, resources and frequently asked questions.

Some sexual assaults are not reported because victims often feel a sense of embarrassment, guilt, perceived responsibility, or because they lack specific recall of the assault due to being drugged or being under the influence. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, call police or contact any of the below resources. We are here to help. It is important to report all incidents.

What is Sexual Assault?

A sexual assault is any unwanted sexual activity. It includes unwanted touching, kissing, hugging, molestation, or penetration.  

Be Aware:

In light of a potential pattern of sexual assaults in the City of Ottawa, the Ottawa Police Service is advising women to exercise caution and be vigilant for your personal safety by exercising good safety practices, such as:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoiding isolated or poorly lit areas.
  • Plan your travel routes ahead of time and considering travel with friends when appropriate.
  • Stay close to your friends, keep an eye on each other and each others' drink.
  • Plan ahead for a safe ride home.
  • Trust your instincts; when you don't feel safe, get away and get help.  If you feel your personal safety is in immediate danger, be loud, make noise and attract attention.
  • Report suspicious incidents or persons to police immediately.

Be Aware of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault. It could help prevent a tragedy.

Because the drugs commonly used to facilitate sexual assault are in liquid form or in a powder that dissolves quickly, it is hard to detect.

In order for you or others to protect themselves, keep these preventive steps in mind to avoid your drink from being dosed.

  • Don't leave your drink unattended at the table or bar while you are dancing, talking with friends, or in the bathroom, etc.
  • Only drink from unopened bottles or cans, or drinks that you've seen poured.
  • Avoid "group" drinks. Punch bowls, or containers that are "passed around" are the easiest to dose.
  • Watch out for your friends and ask them to watch out for you too.

If You Think You or Someone You know Has Been Drugged

Looking at a drink, or even tasting it, might not help you determine a drug is present however, victims often wake up with a sense that they've been violated in some way. Even if you watched your drink, sometimes it can still be contaminated or you may have been drugged in other ways.

If you think you may have been drugged, trust your instincts. The key is to get to a safe place. Tell someone what you think has happened to you, and tell them that you need their help or medical attention. If you or your friends notice any of these symptoms, tell someone and get help immediately:

  • If you notice something is wrong with your drink - there seems to be some powder on the glass or it has a funny taste, throw it away immediately.
  • If you suddenly feel really tired or really drunk and you don't know why because you haven't had that much to drink, you may be feeling the effects of a drug.
  • If you wake up, and you cannot remember the events of the night before, or if you feel that someone has sexually assaulted you but cannot remember the details, it may be because you were drugged. Seek help immediately and get medical attention.
  • Don't change or shower, just go to the Emergency Room. At the hospital, explain what you believe happened to you so they can check for the drugs in your system.

For more information,

The - "Don't be THAT guy" poster campaign breaks the mold by speaking directly to young men. Completed in partnership with:

Crime Prevention Ottawa logo  Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program

 OCTEVAW logo Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre