Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence will not be tolerated!
What is Sexual Assault?
Any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of the victim and involves a range of behaviours from unwanted touching to penetration. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours involving the use of force, threats or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened or that is carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to or is incapable of consenting to.
What is meant by Sexual Violence?
A broad term that describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. The violence takes different forms including sexual abuse and sexual assault.
At the core of sexual assault is the lack of consent. Understanding what is meant by consent, when it can and cannot be given and ensuring that you have full consent before engaging in sexual activity is paramount.
Consent: The voluntary and explicit agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. It is the act of willingly agreeing to engage in specific sexual behaviour, and requires that a person is able to freely choose between two options: yes and no. This means that there must be an understandable exchange of affirmative words which indicates a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. It is also imperative that everyone understands the following:
- Silence or non-communication must never be interpreted as consent and a person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consent.
- A person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate.
- A person who has been threatened or coerced (i.e. is not agreeing voluntarily) into engaging in the sexual activity is not consenting to it.
- A person who is drugged is unable to consent.
- A person is usually unable to give consent when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability preventing them from fully understanding the sexual acts.
- The fact that consent was given in the past to a sexual or dating relationship does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity.
- A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter.
- A person is incapable of giving consent to a person in a position of trust, power or authority such as, a faculty member initiating a relationship with a student who they teach, an administrator in a relationship with anyone who reports to that position.
- Consent cannot be given on behalf of another person.
It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to ensure clear and affirmative responses are communicated at all stages of sexual engagement. It is also the initiator's responsibility to know if the person they are engaging with sexually is minor.