Cape Breton University is committed to creating an environment that is free from sexual violence (actual or threatened), abuse, aggression and harassment for our faculty, staff, students and visitors.
The Cape Breton University Sexual Violence Policy & Guidelines are intended to outline commitments to raise awareness and educate on sexual violence, to prevent sexual violence, to reduce the risk of sexual violence incidents, to promote a consent culture and to respond to the needs in our community for support and empowerment.
This policy confirms Cape Breton University’s position on sexual violence and the guidelines to be followed in the case of disclosure or complaint from any student, for any incident occurring on or off campus by a member of the University community.
Please refer to Cape Breton University’s Sexual Violence Policy & Guidelines for options on Response and Support.
Remember it is not your fault. If you wish to report the assault, call 911 as soon as possible.
If the assault happened on Cape Breton University’s campus, you should report this to Campus Security who will inform a member of Cape Breton University’s Crisis Response Team.
Talk to someone you trust such as a close friend or relative and/or seek professional counselling support.
Seek medical attention, even if you feel you have no obvious injuries.
If you choose to report the assault to the police, contact Cape Breton Regional Police Service.
7 days/week – 24 hours/day
Student Services Counseling Services
Monday to Friday – 8am to 4pm
Max Bell Centre
September to April – Monday to Friday – 8:30am to 4:30pm
Manager, Safety & Security
Human Rights Advisor
Cape Breton Transition House Crisis/Support Line
(902)539-2945 or toll free line 1-800-563-2945
7 days week – 24 hours/day
Willow House Outreach Sexual Assault Program
Support Line (902)270-5167 or 1-844-314-5167
7 days/week – 24 hours/day
For immediate, medical and emotional support call the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Unit
(902)429-8167 or toll-free 1-888-429-8167 or proceed to the emergency department of your local hospital.
7 days/week – 24 hours/day
Cape Breton Regional Police Service
Here are some of the things you can do to offer support or to respond to a disclosure of sexual assault/violence.
Listen to the complainant
Suggested supportive responses
Working with feelings
Other ways you can help
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience that can have long-term consequences for people, on many levels: academic, psychological, physical, social and emotional.
Some common reactions to sexual assault include:
The Criminal Code of Canada defines consent as the voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.
Consent must be an active process, without the influence of coercion. One should never assume consent.
Consent is an active agreement
If you decide to report the assault to the police, you should undergo a forensic medical examination at a hospital emergency room as soon as possible, ideally within 72 hours. This will help ensure that the evidence can be collected and preserved.
If you are unsure about reporting to the police, but would like to preserve the evidence while you make a decision, you can specify this when you meet with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). Prior to the exam, you should do your best to refrain from changing your clothing, using the toilet, showering, eating, or brushing your teeth.
Even if you have not been injured physically, or don’t want to report the assault to the police, you may want to consider being tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy.
You can also obtain medical attention at Cape Breton University Max Bell Center during regular business hours, however, they do not provided specialized sexual assault care.
Sexual assault/violence is a serious crime.
That said, it is always your choice whether or not you report the crime to the police.
If you do report the assault, the police will take your statement, investigate the matter and determine if there is enough evidence to lay charges. If the matter proceeds to court, you will likely be called to testify.
The court process can seem daunting, but please know there are lots of helpful resources that can support you during the process, emotionally and pragmatically.
Emergency: Call 911
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.
FACT: 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 committed by strangers
FACT: Statistics clearly show the vast majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone close to the victim
MYTH: 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.
MYTH: Most sexual assaults are not planned in advance.
FACT: As many as 3/4ths of all sexual assaults involved some pre-planning by the assailant
MYTH: Sexual assault is a commonly false-reported crime
FACT: Most statistics show approximately 2% or less of sexual assaults reported as false reports
MYTH: 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
MYTH: If a drunk person consents to a sexual act, this consent is valid
FACT: A person under the influence of alcohol or other substances cannot give consent
MYTH: 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
MYTH: 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.
MYTH: Most assailants have a history of mental or sexual problems
FACT: Many assailants appear to live highly normal/functioning lives
MYTH: Assailants are typically poor, uneducated or of a certain race
FACT: There is no data indicating a typical profile of an assailant. Many assailants are otherwise upstanding citizens.
MYTH: It is not sexual assault if the assailant and the victim are married
FACT: Any sexual acts that are not consented to constitute sexual assault regardless of the relationship between the victim and the assailant.
MYTH: 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.