At Victoria College, we recognize the deep and enduring connection between academic study and character development. The ideas you talk about, and who you talk about them with, during your university studies will shape who you are for the rest of your life.
That’s why we’re asking every member of our community to commit to a dialogue about some of the biggest issues we face as a society, like mental health and sexual assault. We have to ask questions that don’t have easy answers, listen to each other’s perspectives, and talk about the paths we want to forge into the future.
I Need Help
Taking the step to ask for support can often feel like the biggest struggle of all. The good news is: everywhere at Vic, there are people who will listen to what you have to say and talk to you about what you want to do next.
You might be thinking, “Do I need to tell someone? Is my problem really a big deal? Shouldn’t I just deal with this on my own?” Most people feel doubt about asking for help--it takes courage and strength to talk about painful feelings. Try to remember that telling someone is an important step in feeling better.
I Need Help with Mental Health
If you’re having trouble dealing with stress, sadness, or loneliness, you’re not the only one. You may feel like everyone else is breezing through assignments and exams, making new best friends, and generally having the time of their lives, but studies have shown that more than half of students like you have experienced feelings of hopelessness or overwhelming anxiety.
I want to know more about mental illness and how it might be affecting me.
Visit More Feet on the Ground website and click "Learn More."
Who do I ask for help?
Choosing the right person to ask for help is important. You should choose someone who you trust will listen to you, will try to understand what you’re going through, and will be able to help you tell other people if you need to.
Sometimes, you may have to ask more than one person before you feel like you get the help you need. Don’t give up hope if the first person you talk to doesn’t know what to do.
There are lots of people at Vic, UofT, and in the community who you can trust to listen, understand, and help.
I Need Help with Sexual Assault, Violence, and Safety
Most people believe that sexual assault and violence only happen with a stranger, in “dangerous” places, or to people who are behaving in “risky” or “careless” ways. In reality, it can happen to anyone, and it’s actually more likely to happen with someone you know in a familiar environment.
What do I do if I’ve been assaulted or threatened?
- Get away from the perpetrator and to a safe place.
- Ask for help. Call a friend or family member, call 911, go to a hospital, or contact a campus or community resource.
- If you’ve been sexually or physically assaulted, do not wash, clean, or change your clothes if possible. Don’t touch or change anything at the scene of the assault.
- If you are considering pursuing a criminal charge, going to a local hospital is a good first option.
What if I don’t want to tell anyone what happened?
You have the right to tell who you want, when you want, about anything that has happened to you. Here are a few important things to consider if you’re unsure:
- Even if you go to the police or a hospital, you—and only you—get to decide if you want to press charges against your attacker.
- Talking to someone and/or pressing charges is difficult, but it can help to prevent sexual assault or violence from happening to someone else.
- There’s no “normal” or “okay” way to feel right now. It’s just as possible to feel numb and unaffected as it is to feel furious, terrified, or hopeless. Even if you think it’s not a big deal, it’s a good idea to tell someone.
- What happened is not your fault--no matter who did it or what circumstances they did it in.
What if I don't know who to tell or what to do?
You may not be sure what your options are or what to do—for example, whether to go to the hospital or immediate healthcare, reach out for support, or to contact the police. What you do next is up to you, but you may want to consider the following options. You can find contact information on the where to get help page.
- Ask for support from trusted family members or friends.
- Call a help line for anonymous, professional support.
- Go to a local hospital or sexual assault crisis centre.
- Ask for support from people on campus (e.g., residence services, the Community Safety Office, the Assault Counsellor/Educator).
- Go to the police.
What if I’m confused about what happened? What if it wasn’t assault? Am I making a big deal out of nothing?
Sexual assault and other forms of violence can be confusing experiences because we don’t talk about them enough--and when we do, there are all kinds of misinformation and stigmas being passed around.
Someone I Know Needs Help
Every student at Victoria College is responsible for creating an open, caring, and respectful climate. If you see something wrong--whether it’s obvious or subtle, and whether it’s affecting a close friend or a stranger--be willing to ask, listen, and talk.
If someone asks you for help, you may not know what to say or do. You don’t have to figure it out alone.
Someone I Know Needs Help With Their Mental Health
If someone tells you, “I feel like I can’t handle stress right now,” or “I think I might be depressed,” how would you respond?
Helping someone with their mental health can be confusing, scary, and stressful. Below are some tips and resources that may make the process easier for you.
If you are concerned that someone might harm themselves or someone else--whether it’s before, during, or after talking to them--tell someone right away.
- How to ask, listen, and talk to someone who needs help with mental health
- Where to get help
- Information about mental health concerns from UofT's More Feet on the Ground website
Someone I Know Has Been Assaulted or Threatened
If you suspect or find out that someone has been assaulted, abused, or threatened, you’re likely to experience a confusing mix of emotions. Your response is important, both for them and for your relationship.
When someone has been violated or threatened, your most important job is to make sure they are safe. Contact emergency services (911) if necessary. Once they’re safe, you can begin the process of talking about their experience and what they want to do next.
- How to ask, listen, and talk to someone who needs help after assault or violence
- Where to get help
- What you need to know about sexual assault
Information and Resources
- Where to get help
- Information about sexual assault
- Code of Student Conduct
- UofT Health and Wellness Centre
- The Centre (Sexual Violence, Prevention and Support Centre)