Sexual Violence and Consent
What is Sexual Violence?
Sexual violence is any act targeting a person’s sexuality, whether physical or psychological, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without their consent. Anyone, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation can become victims to sexual violence. Sexual violence can significantly impact physical and mental wellbeing of individuals and communities.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is a type of sexual violence that constitutes non-consensual sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of that person and involves a range of behaviours, from any unwanted touching to penetration. Sexual assault may include a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, or which make that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened or threatened, and/or which are carried out in circumstances where the person has not freely provided consent.
See our Sexual Violence policy for more information.
What is Consent?
Consent is an active, affirmative, conscious, direct, unimpaired, and voluntary agreement to engage and continue to engage in sexual activity. It is an individual’s responsibility to make sure that they have the other person’s consent to engage in sexual activity.
What is Rape Culture?
“Rape culture” is a term that describes an environment where rape is prevalent, normalized and accepted as inevitable. Rape culture does not necessarily mean that society or individual people promote sexual violence in an outward, active manner. Rather rape culture is largely perpetuated via unexamined and false beliefs.
Some examples of rape culture include myths about sexual violence, victim blaming, language that trivializes rape, jokes, sexual objectification in ads, images that glamourize sexual violence, song lyrics that send confusing and harmful messages about consent, and more.