A recent survey found 19 per cent of Canadians thought women could provoke or encourage sexual assault in certain situations.

But a street poll conducted by the CBC’s Stephanie Domet found the issue might be more to do with the wording of the question than underlying attitudes.

The Angus Reid poll was commissioned by the Canadian Women's Foundation. It asked 1,000 people if a woman can provoke or encourage sexual assault in the following situations:

  • When she is drunk
  • When she invites a man to her home
  • When she flirts with a man
  • When she is wearing a short skirt
  • When she is walking home alone
  • None of these

A total of 70 per cent chose the last answer, but between 9 and 19 per cent of respondents said that a woman could provoke or encourage sexual assault in some of those other situations.

  • 9 per cent said walking home alone
  • 11 per cent said when she wears a short skirt
  • 15 per cent said when she flirts with a man
  • 16 per cent said when she invites a man to her home
  • 19 per cent said when she is drunk

But Domet’s informal survey found people often meant a woman could increase the risk of sexual assault in certain situations, not that a woman invited or encouraged sexual assault.

Listen to the interviews and hear what the Canadian Women's Foundation thinks about the survey results.