Administrators at Sudbury’s Health Sciences North say there's been a sharp increase in the number of sexual assault cases being reported, which is said to be double the number the hospital saw last year.

Humanitarian and foreign aid worker, Jacqueline Villeneuve, has just moved back to Sudbury from Africa and recently had the courage to tell people her story.

"I decided to share my story of being a survivor of sexual violence, because I was honestly tired of seeing millions of women being attacked, but fearing sharing their story. And I felt that being a mother of a daughter, it was the right time to come forward and share my own story in hopes of inspiring other women to do the same thing." said Villeneuve.

Nancy Horan runs the Violence Intervention and Prevention Program at the hospital.

She believes the large amount of attention the subject is getting in the news and social media is encouraging people to speak out.

"The large jump is actual women reporting, so to be clear, that it's not that we're having more sexual assaults. I think the numbers have been consistent. I think what's happened is that women are speaking out and people are listening." said Horan.

"I think it’s great that women have the confidence to come forward. I think there's been a real shift in perceptions and just the general mindset of women sharing their stories, over the last year." said Villeneuve.

According to statistics, it is estimated that in Canada, about one in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetime.