Getting Help and Support

If you have experienced sexual violence please know that the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Coordinator is available to listen, support, and help you navigate next steps in non-emergency situations. If you feel you are in danger, contact 911.  

What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is a broad term that describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This violence takes different forms including sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape, incest, childhood sexual abuse and rape during armed conflict. It also includes sexual harassment, stalking, indecent or sexualized exposure, degrading sexual imagery, voyeurism, cyber harassment, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened, carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to, or is incapable of consenting to.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual attention directed at an individual by someone whose conduct or comments are, or should reasonably be known to be, offensive, inappropriate, intimidating, hostile, and unwelcome. Sexual harassment often occurs in environments in which sexist or homophobic jokes and materials have been allowed.

What is Consent?

The expressed, voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity with another individual or individuals.

  • Someone who is incapacitated in any way (i.e., due to the use of drugs or alcohol, being asleep or unconscious, or a disability that prevents an individual in giving consent) cannot consent
  • Past consent does not imply future consent
  • Being in a relationship with an individual does not constitute consent
  • Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time
  • Coercion, force, or threat of either invalidates consent
  • Consent cannot be obtained if the accused abuses a position of trust, power, or authority
  • Consent cannot be assumed by the accused based on impaired judgment

See the Glossary for more definitions.

Seeking Help and Support

You may or may not feel that you need to access counselling support after the incident of sexual violence. This is entirely your choice, and whatever you choose, it is important to know that there is always help available, should you ever need support in the future. There is no time limit in seeking counselling support. If you are unsure how to access support services, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Coordinator at Nipissing University can help you navigate services on and off campus.

  • If you are a student, and live in Residence, you can contact a Residence Life Supervisor. You may need to contact your Don first, and can do so by calling the front desk of your Residence and asking for the on-call Don. Dons are there to listen to, support, and believe you.
  • If you are a student, and don’t live in Residence, or you are not a student, call or go to a trusted friend, family member’s house, or shelter if you feel physically and/or emotionally unsafe.
  • If you are a student, faculty, or staff member and are in a non-emergency situation, you  can contact the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Coordinator at svsupport@nipissingu.ca or 705-474-3450 ext. 4075
  • Students can access free and confidential support through Student Counselling Services on Campus in B210 counselling@nipissingu.ca or 705-474-3450 ext 4507.
  • Faculty and staff may choose to seek out support through Nipissing University’s Employee & Family Assistance Program Aspiria.
  • If you are a student, faculty, or staff member, and need assistance getting to a safe place: use a Blue Emergency Phone on campus to call Campus Security Services; or you can reach them at ext. 5555 or 24-hours a day at 705-498-7244
  • If any member of the Nipissing University Community is not sure what to do, or do not feel comfortable disclosing the sexual violence to the support people at the University, you can call the following 24-hour supports:
    • Assaulted Women's Helpline (tollfree): 1-866-863-0511
    • Good2Talk Helpline at 1-866-925-5454
    • LGBTYouthline: 1-800-268-9688 or TXT 647-694-4275
    • Amelia Rising Sexual Assault Centre 24 hour Crisis Line 705-476-3355
    • North Bay Regional Health Centre’s Crisis Intervention line at 705-495-8198

Please visit the Support page for more options on and off campus.

Seeking Medical Attention

You are entitled to complete medical care regardless of whether you decide to report the sexual violence to the police, or Nipissing University. Getting medical attention will allow medical staff to determine if you require treatment for any injuries, exposure to sexually transmitted infections, as well as provide a screening for pregnancy. You may choose to attend to speak to the medical professional of your choosing, or visit the North Bay Regional Health Centre Emergency Room, your family doctor, the Campus Health Centre, or a Walk-In Clinic.

The North Bay Regional Health Centre Sexual Assault Treatment Centre Sexual can provide you with a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit, as well as treatment for injury, sexually transmitted infections, or pregnancy.

If you choose to have a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit, you will need to visit the Emergency Room. The purpose of this kit is to collect evidence of a sexual assault. You can ask to see a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE Nurse) at your local hospital. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners complete this kit with patients and are on call 24/7. You may choose to complete the kit and report to police, not report to police, or have the kit frozen for up to 3 months. A medical exam can be done up to 7 days following the assault, and the “Plan B” (Morning After) Pill can be taken up to two days following the assault.

» What to Expect When Reporting a Sexual Assault (can provide you with more information on how to prepare for completing the kit, and what to expect.

Following an experience of sexual violence you can: go somewhere safe, seek out support and/or  talk to someone you trust, and/or seek out medical care. Not all of these options may feel right to you, and you may decide that you do not want to do these things. It is normal and okay to not know what you would like to do, and to have many different feelings. Some people experience embarrassment, loneliness, anger, guilt, and/or anxiety. What happened was not your fault, and you are not responsible for someone else's actions, no matter what you were doing, wearing or where you were.

If you are unsure what to do, or need support in making that decision, you can contact the SVPEC in non emergency situations, or one of the helplines or agencies on the Support Services Page.