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Questions and Answers

What Can Someone Do After A Sexual Assault?

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You can feel and do whatever you need to after a sexual assault. People can feel scared, upset, numb, angry, or just about anything. Some people want to file a report or press legal charges while others want to get support or move on. You can always choose what’s right for you. If you want help right away, you can call the Montréal Sexual Assault Center at 514 933-9007 any time.

It sometimes helps to learn about your options and places that can support you or help with the process. You can also talk about it with people that you trust.

People can call something assault right after or years later and it’s just as true. Everyone can also choose how they define sexual assault. In this FAQ, we define sexual assault as any unwanted contact of a sexual nature. It can also mean any sexual activity where someone doesn’t consent.

Right after a sexual assault

Right after a sexual assault, your safety is most important. If you’re in danger or hurt, you can call 911. You can also call someone you trust to support you. You can do whatever you need to feel more comfortable and safe.

There are also free places in Montréal that can help. The Montréal Sexual Assault Center and the Sexual Assault Centre of the Mcgill Students Society (SACOMSS) have crisis phone lines, drop-in programs, and support groups. You can find their phone numbers and more about them at the end of this FAQ.

Going to a hospital or clinic

Doctors can find the most evidence if you see them right after a sexual assault. If you want to go, it helps if you don’t shower or change your clothes. They can still find evidence up to 5 days after an assault. If you’re over 14, doctors have to keep your information private.

There are a few places in Montréal that give medical help for sexual assaults. They can have many options to choose from:

Centre Metro Age Language Hours
Montréal Children’s Hospital (MCH) Atwater 0-18 English 24/7
Montréal General Hospital Concordia 18+ English 24/7
CLSC Métro Concordia 18+ English/French M-F 800-1700

You can bring someone you trust or a support worker with you to a hospital or clinic.

Telling healthcare providers about any medications, drugs, or alcohol that you took can lower your risk for bad interactions. If you took any illegally, there’s a risk that police might get involved. Doctors will give you any treatment that you need before you talk to police.

Reporting a sexual assault

You can choose whether to file a police report after a sexual assault. If you file a report, police will ask very detailed questions. After you file a report, they’ll write down the name of the detective and the police report number. You can keep these safe in case you want to follow up.

Filing a police report doesn’t mean that you have to press charges. At this stage, you can choose to continue or end the legal process. You can also file a report and choose to move forward with some legal options any time after.

Healing

There’s no wrong way to react to a sexual assault. People can change how they feel about an event over time and that’s okay. Remember that what happened isn’t your fault and it doesn’t define who you are.

Some survivors heal by getting support from friends and other people they trust. A few places we mentioned have free programs like active listening, counselling, and group therapy.

It might help to calm down in a place where you’re comfortable. You can also get in touch with your body by meditating or exercising. It may help to support yourself by doing something you enjoy. This could be taking a bath, watching a movie, or eating your favorite meal. Some people like doing something creative like drawing, journaling, or making music.

More info:

  • Montreal Sexual Assault Center

    Organization that provides services to women over 18 years old who are victims of sexual assault. 
    -24/7 Crisis line
    -medical-social services are available without an appointment at the CLSC Metro Monday-Friday from 9pm-5pm and the Montreal General Hospital from 5pm-9am and on weekends. 

  • SACOMSS-for survivors of sexual assault

    Sexual Assault Centre of the Mcgill Students Society offers support to surivors of sexual assault through a crisis line, drop-in services, and support groups. All services are public and free of charge. 

  • Tel-Jeunes

    Tel-jeunes is a free, confidential resource for young people throughout Quebec, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can talk through texting, phone, or online chat and get a quick response.