Sexual Assault Law in Canada

Topic Progress:

Introduction

Sexual assault is a criminal offence.

Exploring Sexual Consent goes into more detail about how Canadian law defines sexual consent and the age of consent.

Choices Following Sexual Violence provides information about what a victim/survivor may expect if they go through the criminal justice process.

Cyberviolence

Sexual violence exists and thrives online, just as it does off. When sexual violence is perpetrated on the Internet, on social media, using a smartphone or other electronic device, via text message and/or email etc. it can be called cyberviolence, cyberbullying or cybermisogyny.

As of 2015 it is illegal to share “intimate images of a person” without their consent, regardless of age.

Unfortunately, there have been several local high profile instances of cyber sexual violence in recent years.

In 2013 Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old from Dartmouth, died by suicide. In 2011 Parsons told her parents that she had been sexually assaulted at a party and that a photo of it had been shared electronically amongst her peers. For over a year, Rehtaeh was continuously harassed, slut-shamed, blamed and bullied online.

A year later the public learned of a Facebook group made up of 13 male Dalhousie University Dentistry Students, in which members made misogynist, homophobic and sexually violent posts, including about their female classmates.

Both garnered international attention and outrage. Rehtaeh’s story was one of the catalysts for Nova Scotia’s Sexual Violence Strategy and also led her parents Glen and Leah to create both the annual walk to “Rae's Awareness about Sexualized Violence” and the Rehtaeh Parsons Society.