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Sexual violence can be defined as any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This includes sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape, incest, childhood sexual abuse, unwanted sexual touching, and rape during armed conflict. It also includes sexual harassment, stalking, indecent or sexualized exposure, and voyeurism. Sexual assault is any unwanted, coerced or forced sexual contact or behaviour. 82% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows – a friend, date, teacher, family member, partner, etc.

It is not about love, lust or unsatisfied sexual desire. Sexualized violence involves the use of power and control. Many survivors of sexual violence blame themselves for bringing on the violence, but the survivor is never to blame for the actions of the perpetrator.

If you have been sexually assaulted, it is important to receive medical care as soon as possible. Chantel’s Place offers medical care to survivors of sexual assault within 7 days of the assault, which could include preventative treatment for sexually transmitted and blood borne infections, emergency contraception and a medical exam. For more information about Chantel’s Place, they can be reached at 905-848-7580 ext. 2548. You can also seek medical care and learn more about healthy sexuality at Peel Public Health’s Healthy Sexuality Clinics. For more information, please visit their website at: https://www.peelregion.ca/health/sexuality/

A Peel Region Public Health Nurse is available to provide risk/harm reduction counselling as well as basic sexuality services at Hope 24/7. Call our office at 905-792-0821 for more information.

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