Education & Initiatives

Cultivating a Culture of Consent

To become a campus that nourishes a culture of consent, it is important that we understand the myths and truths about sexual violence and rape culture. When you participate in a workshop, training, or event, you join others in the U of L community who are committed to creating a safer, more respectful campus. 

Education and Initiatives

Understanding and Responding to Sexual Violence

Interested in a Workshop?

Preventing Sexual Violence Action Committee (PSVAC)

Ongoing/ Upcoming Workshops, Trainings, and Events 

Understanding Sexual Violence

The majority of people affected by gendered violence are women, girls, and trans people. However, individuals of all genders can be victims of gendered violence, including men and boys. Sexual and gendered violence often intersects with ableism, racism, and other forms of oppression so that experiences of gendered violence may not only be about gender, but also about other aspects of an individual’s identity.

Sexual violence is about power, force and control over the victim. It is not about love, lust ,or sexual desire. Sexual violence can happen without physical force. A victim may be threatened with words, manipulated or pressured into doing something they do not want to do. Or, a victim may be incapacitated and unable to provide consent.

More than 82% percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows - a friend, acquaintance, date, teacher, family member, professor, advisor or coach. Sexual assault often occurs in a private place, such as the residence of the victim or perpetrator, but can also happen in a more public place such as a party or other social event. Sexual assault can happen in dating, acquaintance, common-law or married relationships. It can happen in heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

Material excerpted from Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide For Ontario’s Colleges and Universities.

What is Sexual Violence?

Any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent. This includes, but is not limited to sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, sexual exploitation, degrading sexual imagery, distribution of sexual images or video of a community member without their consent, and cyber harassment or cyber stalking of a sexual nature.


Defining Consent

Consent is a voluntary, conscious, active and ongoing agreement to participate in sexual activity. In other words, it's a freely given, enthusiastic, clearly communicated “yes.”

Just because consent was given in the past does not mean that it automatically exists for future sexual activity. Each person has to give consent every time, whether in a one-time encounter or a long-term relationship.

According to the Canadian Criminal Code, there is no consent if

  • someone else says “yes”

  • a person is incapable of consenting because they are unconscious, asleep or impaired by drugs or alcohol

  • there is an abuse of power, trust or authority

  • a person is pressured, manipulated, threatened, intimidated or otherwise coerced into saying "yes"

  • a person does not clearly say “yes” or says or implies “no” through words or behaviour

  • consent is withdrawn or a person changes their mind at any time before or during a sexual activity.

Sexual activity that is not consensual is sexual assault.

Facts & Myths 

Misconceptions about sexual assault are often referred to as "rape myths" although they apply to the broad scope of sexual violence. Myths minimize the seriousness of sexual violence and confuse our understanding of what consent means. Unfortunately, they can also contribute to the social context in which individuals are reluctant to report, blame themselves for what happened, or worry that they won't be believed. Myths can create a climate of victim blaming in which individuals responsible are excused for their actions.


Fact: According to the Criminal Code of Canada, sexual assault is any sexual activity without consent, regardless of whether there are physical injuries or a weapon used.

Fact: Under the Canadian Federal Law, anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot consent to sexual activities.

Fact: Entering into a relationship does not give anyone right or ownership of another person’s body.

Fact: Individuals who are impacted by sexual violence, cope and heal in different ways.

Fact: All people are vulnerable to sexual assault. Anybody of any age, sex, class, race, religion, sexual identity, occupation or physical appearance can be sexually assaulted.

Fact: If someone agrees to engage in one intimate act, that does not mean they agree to everything.

Fact: In Canada, 39% of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of sexual assault after the age of 16.

Fact: Sex Workers have the right to give and withhold consent to any sexual activity, and therefore, can be subjected to sexual assault just like anyone else.

Fact: Whether or not someone has had multiple sexual partners, their rights to consent do not change.

Fact: The number of false reports for sexual assault is very low.

For more information, visit Statistics Canada. 

Bystander Campaign

#Ibelieveyou Campaign

Sexual Violence Awareness Week