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Crime Prevention > Personal Safety

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Protecting Yourself From Sexual Assault

A sexual assault is any unwanted touch for a sexual purpose. It can be a touch, a grab, a fondle or forced intercourse.

No matter what the form of sexual assault, it is a crime and considered an act of aggression and violence.

If you are ever sexually assaulted -- it is never your fault!

The offender’s motive typically is to vent hostility or to degrade or prove superiority over the victim.  Women often are more at risk of sexual assault by someone they know rather than by a stranger.

Here are some precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of sexual assault:
  • Practice security at home by always keeping doors and windows locked.
  • Do not open the door to strangers.
  • Always pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Use the buddy system when going out in the evening.
  • Walk with confidence and stay in well-lighted areas.
  • If you are in danger, try to attract attention to yourself:  scream and run if you are able.
  • Carry a personal safety alarm.
  • Never go alone with anyone you do not know well or trust.
  • Avoid illegal drugs and excessive drinking. If your judgment is impaired, you are at greater risk of being sexually assaulted.
  • If you are being stalked, immediately call the police (keep a record of all incidents).


If you are ever sexually assaulted -- it is never your fault!

No one can tell you whether you should fight back, submit or resist the attacker in a sexual assault. Your main concern must always be your safety. Only you can decide how to respond to sexual assault given the circumstances, the offender and your own personality.
Keep assessing the situation as it is happening. If one strategy is not working, try another. Those who successfully resist sexual assault usually employ several strategies to deter the attack.

Some possible methods include:
  • Stalling for time
  • Distracting
  • Negotiating
  • Verbal assertiveness
  • Screaming to attract attention
  • Fleeing to a safe place
  • Physical resistance


There have been reports, particularly in the United States, of sexual assaults that occurred after the victim has ingested drugs that have been unknowingly slipped into their drinks. Some of the common street names for these drugs are Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X, Grievous Bodily Harm, Easy Lay for the drug gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Special K for the drug ketamine, and Roofies, La Rocha and The Forget Pill for the drug rohypnol.

Although reported instances in Winnipeg are still rare, these are some of the steps you can take to reduce your risk of being drugged and sexually assaulted:
  • Do not leave beverages unattended in public places, such as at parties or bars.
  • Do not accept drinks from anyone you do not know and trust.
  • When drinking in a bar or club, only accept drinks directly from the bartender or server.
  • Use the buddy system. Watch out for your friends and have them watch out for you. Anyone acting intoxicated after consuming a small amount of alcohol may be in danger.
  • Remember that alcohol in high enough quantities can have very similar effects to these drugs. If you consume enough alcohol, you may fall unconscious or may not remember the details of what transpires during a sexual assault. For this reason, particularly if you are in a group setting or with someone you do not know well or trust, it is a good idea to limit your alcohol consumption.


To report a sexual assault call 9-1-1 in emergency situations or 204-986-6222 is non-emergent. To speak to a detective in confidence, call 204-986-6245.

Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to attend the Health Sciences Centre where a formal Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program is in place to help you during this difficult time. You can, however, attend any hospital emergency room for assistance if it is a medical emergency.

The majority of offenders continue to commit sexual assault until they are caught. It is important that you report any kind of sexual assault to the police.

More information on what to do if you have been sexually assaulted and/or wish to reporting a sexual assault is available here.

Additional information is also available from our comminted community partners at the Klinic Community Health Center and the Health Schiences Centre Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program

Above all, please always remember that if you are ever sexually assaulted -- it is never your fault!

f you need more information or have any questions about protecting yourself from sexual assault, contact the Winnipeg Police Service Community Relations Unit at 204-986-6322 or via email.


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"An Internationally Accredited Law Enforcement Agency"
Last update: April 2, 2015

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