ABOUT THE GUIDE
This guide contains general information about sexual harassment, abusive relationships and sexual assault as well as ways in which women, and in particular members of Queen's community, can address this issue when it touches their lives. Every women's circumstances are particular to her life however. Many women will be facing the issue of violence in their lives as a complex interaction with many other circumstances. This is why this guide cannot replace the advice of a competent lawyer.
Some women, such as women with disabilities, First Nations women, racial or ethno-cultural minority women, visitor or immigrant women, women whose first language is not English, and lesbians and transgendered women, may face added difficulties when accessing support or social services as well as the legal system. The local sexual assault crisis centre (SACCK) is a good place for such women to start when seeking support. (See the section on community resources for contact numbers.)
Whatever a woman's circumstance may be, she will have many complex and difficult decisions to make. This guide reviews only some of the possible strategies a woman can use. Access as many resources as you can when you are ready to. The more information you have about your rights and the support available, the better equipped you will be to make those decisions.
The guide is divided into two main sections: sexual harassment and sexual assault. Each section answers questions commonly asked by women facing these issues. You can review the Contents page to find the questions most related to your situation, then turn to that page or section.
You will find throughout the book that we often use 'he' when discussing the accused, offender or perpetrator. Although we recognize that men may also face violence perpetrated by a female partner, we also wish to acknowledge the fact that by far the greatest number of cases of sexual harassment, abuse or violence in relationships, and sexual assaults are the result of men's actions against women.