Domestic violence, also called intimate partner abuse, is a crime. It occurs in opposite sex relationships and in same sex relationships. Not all survivors are physically battered or beaten. Domestic violence can include other forms of abuse such as constant threats, psychological, emotional, sexual, financial, material, spiritual, and verbal abuse. Partner abuse happens to many people at all income and educational levels, in all social classes, in all religions, racial, and cultural groups.
Sexual assault is any form of unwanted sexual activity including fondling, touching, and/or penetration that is forced upon another person without that person’s consent. Both men and women can be sexually assaulted, even within marriage or dating situations.
Consent involves the voluntary agreement of two adults to engage in sexual activity. A person under the influence of medication, alcohol, or drugs cannot give consent.
If you have been, or think you have been sexually assaulted, have been a victim of domestic violence, are concerned for your safety, or have been threatened by your partner, there are resources available to help you.
- Sexual Assault Domestic Violence (SA/DV) Program
- If you were assaulted in the last 7 days, go to the Kingston General Hospital, Hotel Dieu Hospital, or Lennox & Addington Country General Hospital and request the SA/DV nurse on call.
The SA/DV unit has a specialized nurse on call 24/7. The nurse will provide a physical assessment, treatment of injuries, testing/treatment of STIs, pregnancy, and HIV. There is also the option of gathering forensic evidence with a sexual assault evidence kit, and victims have the option of freezing the kit to allow more time for a decision. Victims are also provided with follow-up care. Please note that emergency contraception and HIV anti-retrovirals can only be provided within the first 72 hours following a sexual assault.
Though there is a 7 day time frame for individuals 16 years of age or older, there is no time frame for children 16 years and younger.
- Sexual Assault Centre Kingston
- Provides counseling, resources, etc.
There is no time frame associated with this service.
24-hour crisis line: (613) 544-6424 and 1-877-544-6424
Office line: (613) 545-0762
- See our Resources page for more long-term counselling resources.
What is the sexual assault evidence kit?
The sexual assault evidence kit is done to collect evidence when an individual has been sexually assaulted. An individual can have a kit done at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) in the SA/DV unit. The procedure is lengthy, and requires a sweep of the individual’s body to look for any evidence of sexual assault that may be used to prosecute the assailant (though it is not required that the victim-survivor press charges after having the kit done). Such things as hair, semen/vaginal fluids, or signs of bruising can all be used as evidence in a court of law. The procedure is invasive, and may be quite unpleasant for an individual who has just been sexually assaulted. However, any individual who may want to press charges against his or her assailant in the future should have a kit done.
The Sexual Health Resource Centre provides a support service where one of our volunteers will accompany an individual to KGH and wait with them until the procedure is over. The sooner an individual goes to get a sexual assault evidence kit done, the more effective the kit will be.
Further support services and information is available at the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SACK), which can be reached at (613) 544-6424.
Protecting Yourself from Date Rape Drugs
- Don’t accept open drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) from others who you do not know or do not trust.
- When in bars or clubs, always get your drink directly from the bartender and do not take your eyes off the bartender or your order; don’t use the waitress or let somebody go to the bar for you.
- At parties, only accept drinks in closed containers: bottles, cans, or tetra packs.
- Never leave your drink unattended or turn your back on your table.
- Do not drink from open beverage sources like punch bowls, pitchers, or tubs.
- Keep your eyes and ears open; if there is talk of date rape drugs or friends seem ‘too intoxicated’ for what they have taken, leave the party or club immediately and do not go back.
If these behaviour modifications don’t feel like enough protection, or if you don’t think you can follow these rules on a given night, you do have one other option, though it isn’t guaranteed. “Drink Safe Technology” is also available, having been recently approved for use in North America; “Drink Safe” is a package of drink testing strips or coasters that work like litmus paper strips, and change colour when they come in contact with a date rape drug. Though the strips are relatively convenient and portable, they do not recognize the presence of all drugs that can be used to incapacitate, and so should not be used as a replacement for caution and self-awareness
So how do you know if you have fallen victim to a rape using a date rape drug?
There are some very clear signs that sexual activity has taken place even if you have no memory of actually ‘doing it.’ (It is important to note that if you have had sex but can not remember doing it or offering consent you have been raped under the law, whether a date rape drug has been used or not.) Signs that a sexual assault has taken place can include: soreness and bruising in the genital area, soreness or bruising of the anus, bruising on the inner and/or outer thigh, bruising on the wrists and forearms, defensive bruising or scratching (the kind that would occur during a struggle), used condoms near you or in nearby garbage containers, and traces of semen or vaginal fluid on clothes, body, or nearby furniture.
Since people who have been slipped a date rape drug appear to others to be very intoxicated. An extremely reliable sign that you have been raped using a date rape drug is gossip from others about your behaviour or the behaviour of those around you. Aside from indications of sexual activity, other clues that a date rape drug may have been given to you include: feeling hung-over despite having ingested little or no alcohol, a sense of having had hallucinations or very ‘real’ dreams, fleeting memories of feeling or acting intoxicated despite having taken no drugs or drinking no alcohol, no clear memory of events during an 8 to 24 hour period with no known reason for the memory lapse, and stories from others about how intoxicated you seemed at a time when you know you have taken no drugs, medication, or alcohol.
Short of being told that you have been given a date rape drug, there is no way to be sure without medical testing. If you suspect that you have been given a date rape drug, you need to get a hospital quickly and you must request that you be properly tested. The drugs can be found in your system if you act quickly. If you suspect that you have been raped using any one of these drugs, go to a hospital and also request a preliminary sexual assault evidence kit with testing for date rape drugs. This is the only way to know for sure.