Before you assume, there’s this thing called consent. Do you know what consent entails? Have you asked for consent yet? Have both you and your partner said yes?
You may be asking yourself what exactly is sexual consent? Consent means to actively and voluntarily agree to engage in sexual activity, including kissing, sexual touching, fondling, oral sex or intercourse. Consent is:
- Freely given: A person must not be pressured, threatened, coerced.
- Ongoing: Consent can be withdrawn at any point in time. If a person says “stop”, becomes unconscious or is no longer enthusiastic, then stop and check in to make sure they are okay.
- Informed: All participants in sexual activity must be aware of what they doing and say no to anything they are uncomfortable with.
- Enthusiastic: Did the person say “YES!” or is excited to participate in sexual activity? If they did, then enjoy! But if they didn’t, then stop and talk about what you feel comfortable doing.
It is NOT consent when
- The person is unconscious
- The person is impaired, i.e. drunk or high
- The person is incapable of giving their consent
- The person is threatened or coerced to engage in sexual activity
- It threatens their personal safety
Remember to ask for consent every time you want to engage in a sexual activity and it should never be assumed! Your body is your own and no one else should have control over it. Still want more info about consent check out this video:
Unfortunately, some people may experience sexual violence. Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual activity that is forced on a person. In Canada there are about 20,000 reported sexual assaults reported to the police each year. However, only 10% of sexual assaults are reported to the police, so at least 200,000 happen each year in Canada. Anyone can experience sexual violence despite their age, gender or ethnicity. If you have experienced sexual violence, you may experience a variety of feelings, have trouble eating, sleeping or concentrating or experience flashbacks and nightmares. If you feel comfortable, reach out to a friend, family member, health care provider (i.e. counsellor or physician) or anyone else you feel safe speaking with.
How can you be an ally or help someone who has experienced sexual violence?
- Be supportive and validate their feelings.
- Never blame the survivor. It is not their fault that someone made them experience this trauma.
- Make sure the person is physically safe space. If they aren’t, escort them to a place where they do feel safe.
- If the person is physically injured, encourage them to seek medical attention. You can also offer to accompany them to the hospital or clinic.
- Let them know that they can report it to the police and that you can offer to stay with them during the reporting process.
- Educate others on the importance of consent and healthy relationships.
If you or a friend has experienced sexual violence there are some resources that can be utilized:
- On Campus Supports
- Health Services at the University of Waterloo: Call (519)888-4096 or visit the Health Services Building
- Counselling Services at the University of Waterloo: Call (519)888-4567 ext. 32665 or go to Needles Hall Building
- Sexual Violence Response Coordinator for the University of Waterloo: Call (519)888-4567 ext. 46869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- University of Waterloo’s Campus Police: Call (519)888-4911 or use ext. 22222 from any UW phone
- Off Campus Supports
- Waterloo Region Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre: Call (519)749-6994 or go the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s General Hospital
- Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region: Call the 24 hour support line at (519)741-8633
- Emergency Medical Services: call 911