The right to say “yes” or “no” to an interaction or activity; an agreement or permission for something
— The Criminal Code of Canada defines consent as “a voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question”. CANVAS’ definition of consent is not exclusive to romantic and sexual activity, and can relate to many different situations.
— Consent must be mutual (everyone involved has to agree), continuous (you can stop at any time), and specific (every part of the activity is agreed upon).
— In sexual scenarios, everyone is responsible for ensuring that an activity is consensual, but especially the person who is initiating the activity.
— An activity is NOT consensual if a person is forced, coerced, manipulated, or pressured into agreeing or going along with it.
An environment where consent is respected and valued, and where everyone feels comfortable expressing their needs and personal boundaries.
A society where sexual violence is common and seen as normal, inevitable, and even sexy.
— In a rape culture, some people (usually women) are seen as objects rather than full people with needs/desires/independence, and
— In a rape culture, survivors of sexual violence are blamed for the violence they received.
— Examples of rape culture can be seen in TV and movies, in songs and music videos, in court proceedings, and in conversation and news regarding sexual assaults.
Any unwanted act of a sexual nature.
— Some people use “sexual assault” and “rape” interchangeably, however the general cultural understanding in Canada is that rape is a type of assault that involves penetration. CANVAS does not distinguish between the two, in order to respect the right of survivors of sexual assault to define their own experiences.
Unwanted acts of a sexual nature that often involve coercion, usually considered “milder” compared to sexual assault.
— Examples of sexual harassment include pressuring someone to agree to sexual activity online, touching someone’s bottom, putting hands suggestively on someone’s shoulders, and cat-calling (whistling or making sexual remarks at strangers).
— Without intervention or prevention, sexual harassment can elevate to sexual assault.
Someone who has been sexually assaulted.
— CANVAS uses the term “survivor” as opposed to “victim” because:
— People who are sexually assaulted are often at risk of additional violence and death before, during, and after the assault.
— Sexual assault can have incredibly damaging effects on a survivor’s mental health.
— Survivors have the ability to process their assault and trauma.