What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is any form of unwanted sexual contact or activity performed on a person with any object or body part without consent or by force. Any sexual activity that is without consent is sexual assault. Sexual assault can include any sexual contact such as nonconsensual kissing, grabbing, caressing, fondling, and oral, anal or vaginal penetration. Forcing someone to touch you or someone else in a sexual manner is also considered a sexual assault.
Sexual assault is a crime in Canada and is prohibited by section 271 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The nature of your relationship with the perpetrator doesn’t change the fact that sexual assault is a crime. Past or present relationships between the persons involved may include those that are married, friends, acquaintances, strangers, parents, dating, or living together. No one has the right to threaten or assault someone by force to have sexual contact. No one has the right to abuse a person through the use position of trust, power, or authority to engage a person in sexual activity without consent.
Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault.
- Consent is never assumed or implied
- Consent is not silence or the absence of “no”.
- Consent cannot be given if the victim is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or is unconscious
- Consent can never be obtained through threats or coercion
- Consent can be denied at any time
- Consent cannot be obtained if the perpetrator abuses a position of trust, power, or authority
- Consent to one kind or instance of sexual activity does not mean that consent has been given to any other sexual activity or instance
If you have been sexually assaulted it is important to know and understand that you are not alone and that it is not your fault. There is no behaviour, manner of dress, or situation that justifies sexual violence. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you have done nothing wrong and you are not to blame.Learn More
Sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, and it is never the fault of the person who has been assaulted.Learn More
Amber Huva, Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Manager
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Upcoming training on consent education, bystander intervention and how to receive disclosures will be announced here.
In Dignity: and Introduction to Response Based Practice
Student workshop on Consent and Supporting Survivors
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Responding to Disclosures
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Decolonizing Rape Culture