NOTE: Banner images should be placed in this first content block and should be at least 720px wide.

SexualAssaultLandingPageHeaderImage

The Mount's Response to Sexual Assault

Mount Saint Vincent University will not tolerate sexual assault. Sexual assault is any form of sexual activity which occurs without your consent. Forced sexual activity may include kissing, touching, oral sex, and vaginal or anal intercourse. Any sexual activity without your consent is against the law. Consent is never assumed or implied.

  • Consent is not silence or the absence of "no".
  • Consent cannot be given by someone who is asleep or unconscious.
  • Consent may not be possible when someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Consent cannot be given by someone who is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.
  • Consent can never be obtained through threats or coercion.
  • Consent can be revoked at any time.
  • Consent cannot be obtained if the perpetrator abuses a position of trust, power, or authority.
  • Sexual assault may be committed by a person of any gender against a person of any gender.
  • Consent to one kind or instance of sexual activity does not mean that consent has been given to any other sexual activity or instance.1

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. It is important to understand that no matter what, we all have the right to say "yes" or "no" to sexual activity. There is no behaviour, manner of dress, or situation that justifies sexual violence. If you are sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. The perpetrator is solely responsible for the assault.

PDF Icon

The Mount's Policy against Sexual Assault (PDF)

**If you are in immediate danger, phone 9-1-1.



Avalon Sexual Assault Centre / Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
Phone: 902-425-0122
1526 Dresden Row, 4th floor
Phone: 902-422-4240

info@avaloncentre.ca

MSVU Health Services
Assisi Hall, 2nd floor

  • 902-457-6354 (9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. Monday - Friday)
  • 902-448-3975 (call or text in the case of emergency) *This number connects to someone in the Health Office, and offers support for students which is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week
Counselling Services (On-Campus)
Evaristus Hall, Room 218
Phone: 902-457-6567

Hours: 8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00-4:30pm, Monday to Friday

Victim Services (Halifax Regional Police)
Phone: 902-490-5300
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00am-4:30pm

Campus Security (On-Campus)

Assisi Hall, Main floor
Phone: 902-457-6111
Phone: 902-457-6412 (weekdays)
*Campus Security is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

On-Campus Resources


MSVU Health Services
Assisi Hall, 2nd floor

  • 902-457-6354 (9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. Monday - Friday)
  • 902-448-3975 (call or text in the case of emergency) *This number connects to someone in the Health Office, and offers support for students which is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week
MSVU Counselling Services
Evaristus Hall, Room 218
Phone: 902-457-6567
Hours: 8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00-4:30pm, Monday to Friday 

counselling@msvu.ca

Campus Security
Assisi Hall, Main floor
Phone: 902-457-6111
Phone: 902-457-6412 (weekdays)
*these numbers are also found on the back of student ID cards
Campus Security is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Campus Emergency Phones
Locations: Seton academic Centre Lobby, RBC Student Link, main entrance of Rosaria, all elevators
*Once the receiver is lifted, these phones automatically connect to the Security Office which is staffed 24 hours a day

MSVU Harassment and Discrimination Advisor

Phone: 902-457-6766
respect.advisor@msvu.ca

Off-Campus Sexual Assault Resources


Avalon Sexual Assault Centre / Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
Phone: 902-425-0122
1526 Dresden Row, 4th floor
Phone: 902-422-4240

info@avaloncentre.ca

Halifax Regional Police
1975 Gottingen Street, Halifax
Phone: 911 for emergencies
Phone: 902-490-5020 for non-emergencies
Victim Services (Halifax Regional Police)

Phone: 902-490-5300
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00am-4:30pm


Off-Campus Health Centres


Bedford Basin Women's Health Clinic
967 Bedford Hwy
Phone: 902-444-8726

Halifax Sexual Health Centre
6009 Quinpool Road
Phone: 902-455-9656

The Family Focus Medical Clinic
    5991 Spring Garden Road (Halifax)
    3601 Joseph Howe Drive (Halifax)
    27 Peakview Way, suite 201 (Bedford)
    667 Sackville Drive, suite 207 (Sackville)
    240 Baker Drive, suite 201 (Dartmouth)
    4 Forest Hills Parkway (Dartmouth)
Phone: 902-420-6060

    121 Ilsley Avenue, Unit 5 (Dartmouth)
Phone: 902-468-2774 Extension 1

In times of emotional stress, people tend to minimize their own feelings out of self-protection, or out of consideration for the feelings of people they love. Although you may feel fine physically, your body may be numbed by a state of shock, so it's important to seek medical care as soon as possible.

If you choose to have evidence collected, the sooner this is done, the more reliable and potentially useful it will be if you decide that you want to contact the police, but you do not have to decide right away because the evidence can be collected and saved for the future. That said, you can choose not to have the evidence collected during medical treatment.1

If you have been sexually assaulted and wish to seek medical assistance, there are a few options available to you within the Halifax Regional Municipality:

  • Call 911 if you are in an emergency situation and would like medical care and/or police assistance. You also have the option to contact the police either immediately after the assault or later on.
  • Call the 24-hour, seven days a week, Avalon Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Response line (902-425-0122) to speak to a nurse examiner. You may also arrange for a medical examination and/or forensic evidence collection by a nurse examiner if the assault occurred within the past 120 hours (5 days).
  • Proceed to the emergency departments of the QEII Health Sciences Centre, Dartmouth General Hospital, IWK Health Centre or the Cobequid Community Health Centre. A nurse from the SANE program will respond seven days a week to male, female and trans-identified people who have experienced sexual assault/abuse in the past three days.2

1Adapted from the University of Connecticut http://sexualviolence.uconn.edu/sexual-assault/why-should-i-seekmedical%20care
2Taken from the Avalon Sexual Assault website http://www.avaloncentre.ca/  

Reporting a Sexual Assault for the Purpose of Investigation

Deciding whether or not to report a sexual assault is something that the survivor should decide for themselves and that decision should be respected by the people in the survivor's support system. If you are unsure of whether or not you should file a report, you may want to talk to someone who can help you decide such as a health care provider, a counsellor, someone from the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, or someone from a crisis line.

Mount Saint Vincent University Reporting Options

There are two reporting options at the Mount. One option is under the Mount's Policy. The other option is to the police. A survivor may choose one or both options. It is important to note there is a difference between disclosing and reporting. Disclosing refers to sharing information about an assault with staff, faculty or a peer. Reporting an assault means there will be an investigation. It is possible to disclose information about an assault without reporting it for the purpose of an investigation.


Things to be Aware of if you are Thinking about Reporting the Assault to the Police

It is better to call soon after the assault: medical evidence must be collected within 120 hours (5 days) after the assault occurs. If you are unsure of involving the police, the Sexual Assault Centre can store evidence for a period of time. The time frame to conduct drug testing, in cases of suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault, is quite short. If you suspect you have been drugged, collect your urine first and/or try to get to a Sexual Assault Centre or an emergency department within 12 hours. If you are thinking of contacting the police, preserve any evidence you can. Don't wash, bathe, douche, change or destroy your clothes, and don't alter the area where the assault occurred. The police will ask that you undergo a medical examination by a specially trained medical team and have injury photos taken. You will give a detailed statement about the assault to the police, and later need to be available for other aspects of the police investigation. When charges are laid by the police, you may be required to testify in court.1

1Adapted from the University of Windsor website http://www.uwindsor.ca/sexual-assault/6/if-youve-been-assaulted

Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Assault

When a disclosure of sexual assault is made, the safety, security, and well-being of the victim are fundamental considerations. It is important to note there is a difference between disclosing and reporting. Disclosing refers to sharing information about an assault with staff, faculty or a peer. Reporting an assault means there will be an investigation. It is possible to disclose information about an assault without reporting it for the purpose of an investigation.

  • DO believe the survivor.
  • DO tell the survivor that it's not his or her fault. Nobody invites sexual assault or wants to be sexually assaulted.
  • DO be aware of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence (for more info, read section below).
  • DO support survivors in responding to and reporting these incidents in a transparent and consistent manner.
  • DO refer the survivor to a hospital, clinic, or doctor that can provide medical help and testing for unplanned pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infection.
  • DO refer to others in the community who are able to assist further.
  • DO protect the survivor's confidentiality.
  • DO NOT react with disbelief, disgust or anger at what the survivor tells you.
  • DO NOT give advice ("If I were you, I would...", "If you don't charge this guy he will do it again", "You have to tell the police what happened to you").
  • DO NOT insist or coax the survivor into any course of action. If there is a course of action you are legally obliged to take, explain what this is and why.
  • DO NOT grill the survivor for details.1

1Portions of material adapted from Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (n.d.) Dealing with Sexual Disclosures: Creating an emotionally safe response when somebody tells you they have been sexually assaulted.

Myths about Sexual Assault


Myth: Strangers most often commit sexual assault.
Fact: On the contrary, sexual assault is most often committed by someone known to the survivor, such as a family member or relative, friend of the family, trusted neighbour, partner, or roommate - not by strangers.

Myth: People cannot be assaulted by their husbands/wives or boyfriends/girlfriends.
Fact: Under the law, people have the right to say "no" to any form of sex, even in a marriage or dating relationship.

Myth: Survivors of sexual assault "asked for it" by the way they dress or act.
Fact: The idea that survivors "asked for it" is often used by offenders to rationalize their behaviour. It also blames the survivor for the crime, not the offender. Survivors of sexual assault report a wide range of dress and actions at the time of the assault. Any person of any age and physical type, in almost any situation, can be sexually assaulted. If a person is sexually assaulted, it is NOT his/her fault.

Myth: People who commit sexual assault are either mentally ill or sexually starved.
Fact: Sexual assault is about asserting power and control over the victim. Most perpetrators are not mentally ill or sexually starved.

Myth: People of certain races and backgrounds are more likely to commit sexual assault.
Fact: Offenders come from every economic, ethnic, racial, age, and social group. Beliefs that people of colour or working class people are more likely to commit sexual assault are a stereotype rooted in racism and classism. Anyone can commit sexual assault.

Myth: It is only sexual assault if physical violence or weapons are used.
Fact: The Criminal Code definition of sexual assault includes a number of acts ranging from unwanted sexual touching, to sexual violence resulting in wounding, maiming, or endangering the life of the survivor. Many sexual assaults involve verbal pressure, intimidation, intoxication (such as administering drugs without the victim's consent), and/or threats during an assault.

Myth: Unless physically harmed, a sexual assault survivor will not suffer any long-term effects.
Fact: Any sexual assault can have serious effects on a person's long-term health and well-being. Survivors often deal with feelings of anger, shame, and fear for many years after the assault. Survivors often also become more cautious and less trusting, affecting their personal relationships.

Myths about Male Sexual Assault1


Myth: Sexual assault of males is a rare occurrence.
Fact: A recent study in Canada (Sexual Offenses Against Children) reports that an estimated one in three boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. Also, in one study involving college men ages 19-24, 30% admitted to being victims of sexual assault.2  Both males and females are vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Myth: Males are less traumatized by sexual violence or do not suffer to the same extent female survivors do.
Fact: After sexual assault or sexual abuse, male survivors are just as likely as female survivors to experience effects from the experience. Just like female survivors, male survivors may experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, suicidal ideations, flashbacks, and difficulty trusting others. Survivors of sexual assault all have very personal reactions to their experiences, but they are all impacted in some way.

Myth: Males are only assaulted and abused by gay men.
Fact: The great majority of perpetrators against men and boys are heterosexual men. The motivation for sexual violence is to gain a sense of control and power over another person, not to achieve sexual satisfaction. Females also commit sexual assault against males.

Myth: Males can protect themselves from being sexually assaulted.
Fact: Males and females alike are vulnerable to sexual assault. Because men are often physically stronger than women, some people mistakenly believe that men should be able to defend themselves. Yet, there are many ways that perpetrators commit sexual assault, and most often, coercion is used. Any person of any size or physical strength can be coerced.

Myth: You can't sexually assault a man because men always want and are ready for sex.
Fact: Sexual assault is not sex. If a man wants sex, he wants to choose who it is with and what it consists of. Sexual assault is an act of violence that takes away any choice or control the person has. Our society's expectation that men always want sex can be very damaging to male victims who therefore feel that they "should have wanted" this experience and thus cannot be upset about it.

Myth: Males assaulted by another male are, or become, gay as a result of the sexual assault. 
Fact: A person's sexual orientation does not change as a result of a sexual assault experience. Some victims do feel confused about their sexual orientation after a sexual assault or sexual abuse, particularly if they experienced physical arousal during the assault. For example, if a straight man is sexually assaulted by another men and has an erection during the assault, he may worry that this must mean that he is gay or that he wanted the sexual assault to happen. Yet, it is very common to experience arousal during a sexual assault. This arousal can be a fear response, or it can be because a healthy body usually physically responds to sexual touch, even if the touch is not wanted.

Myth: Men who had an erection while being sexually assaulted enjoyed what happened to them.
Fact: Our bodies are programmed to respond to touch in a certain way. Just as women who are sexually assaulted may lubricate or orgasm, men who are sexually assaulted may have an erection and ejaculate. This does not mean they enjoyed the touch. Instead, it means they have healthy, normal bodies that are responding in a healthy, normal way.

1University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre. "The Male Experience of Sexual Violence." Available at: http://www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/SAC/pdfs/The%20Male%20Experience%20of%20Sexual%20Violence%202009.pdf 2Volunteer Training Manual, Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton
2Volunteer Training Manual, Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton