Brochure: Respect Sexual Consent

Consent is feeling…

  • Willing
  • Certain
  • Comfortable
  • Sober
  • Informed
  • Respected

Consent is not feeling…

  • Pressured
  • Confused
  • Scared
  • Drunk or high
  • Ignored
  • Disrespected

The absence of "no" doesn't mean "yes".

You need to actively seek consent! The person initiating sexual activity needs to take reasonable steps to establish consent.

If you are unsure, stop and ask: "Is this okay?"

Recognize nonverbal signs of refusal such as:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Crying
  • Pushing away
  • Shaking head no
  • Silence
  • Not being responsive

If someone doesn't give you consent for sexual activity, STOP!

The law and consent

The legal age of consent in Canada is 16 years old.

Exceptions: Persons under 16 years can have consensual sex with someone close in age.

  • 12-13 year olds (two-year age difference)
  • 14-15 year olds (five-year age difference)

These exceptions only apply if the older person is not in a position of authority or trust and there is no exploitation or dependency.

Individuals under 18 years old cannot consent to sex where:

  • The other consenting party is in a position of trust, authority or there is a dependency on that person
  • There is an activity of exploitation (i.e. pornography, sex work/prostitution).

You have the right to withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity

Even if you've consented to start a sexual act with someone, you have the right to stop it at any time.

Consenting to one kind of sexual activity does not automatically mean consenting to another.

If you don't want to do something, you have the right to say, "STOP!"

What to do if you've been sexually assaulted

Sexual assault is any unwanted act of a sexual nature that is imposed on another person without their consent.

Regardless of how long ago a sexual assault occurred, you can choose to report the assault to the police. You also have a right to access medical attention and support at any time, even if you choose not to report the assault to the police.

  • Get to a safe place. If you are in danger, call 911 and/or a local sexual assault response program
  • Call someone you know and trust to be with you
  • If the sexual assault was recent and if possible, avoid washing yourself, changing your clothes or combing your hair. Preserve any evidence you can, such as items you had with you. You can still report a sexual assault if you have been unable to preserve evidence
  • Write down, record, or tell someone you trust all the details you can remember
  • Seek medical help and emotional/practical assistance or support (e.g., family, friends, crisis centre)

What the police will want to know

  • What happened, when, where and who else was there
  • A description of the person who sexually assaulted you (as detailed as possible)
  • If you don't feel comfortable talking to the police, you can ask to be referred to a victim services unit, health care facility or a community-based service, like a sexual assault centre, for support and information around your options

For more information

Getting help

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