Sexual violence is not the survivor’s fault and is a violent crime.
What clothes a person wore, where they were, who they were with, or whether they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of an incident is irrelevant.
The only person responsible for an incident of sexual violence is the person who commits the crime.
There are things everyone can to do prevent sexual violence.
Consent is a voluntary and enthusiastic “yes!”. It’s needed for every sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.
- Cannot be assumed or implied from silence or the absence of ‘no.’ There is no consent if the person doesn’t reply.
- Cannot be given if a person is affected by alcohol or drugs, or is unconscious. There is no consent if someone is impaired, incapacitated, asleep, or passed out.
- Cannot be obtained through threats or coercion. There is no consent if the person is manipulated, pressured, or threatened.
- Cannot be obtained if someone abuses a position of trust, power, or authority. There is no consent if someone uses a position of power or authority to get someone to engage in unwanted sexual activity.
- Does not exist if someone has said ‘no’ with words or body language.
- Is revocable at any time. Consent does not exist if someone has said ‘yes,’ but then says ‘no’ later with words or body language.
Consenting to one kind of sexual activity does not mean consent is given to another sexual activity, and consent only applies to each specific instance of sexual activity.
Have Healthy, Respectful Relationships
Healthy relationships can bring out the best in people, allowing them to experience personal growth, more happiness, and even less stress. This is true for intimate relationships, as well as friendships, school peers, work colleagues, and relationships with family members. A healthy relationship has at least five important qualities:
Tips for Building Healthy Relationships:
Healthy relationships help us develop our general well-being and sense of belonging, which allows us to experience greater happiness and success. Here are some ideas to consider for building healthy relationships:
- Be willing to be vulnerable. Great relationships are based in truth and trust. Take a chance on someone.
- Recognize that one relationship cannot meet all your needs. Seek many to make yourself well rounded.
- Agree to disagree. It’s hard, but essential. ‘Winning’ an argument should never be your goal. You each have a responsibility to listen to each other and to be heard. Don’t forget to do either.
- Share an honest compliment – something you admire about them without any ulterior motivation.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. A good friend will understand why (or ask) rather than pressuring you.
- Be thoughtful. If they’re having a bad day, buy or make them a treat or gift to perk them up.
- Don’t change who you are. Growing is good, but don’t change your beliefs without a good reason.
- Apologize if you upset them. Ask how they felt and let them know what you meant and that you’re sorry.
- Show respect by respecting yourself. If you feel uncomfortable or unhappy with something, tell them.
- If you think they’re mad at you, ask why. Knowing what upsets them and how they respond is important.
- Pay attention to body language and think about what it’s telling you (that they can’t put into words).
- Learn about their boundaries. You might not mind being woken up at 2am to chat, but they might be.
- Be straightforward about your boundaries. Healthy boundaries make a relationship better for both of you.
- See them for who they really are – they have strengths and areas of growth too. Try to understand them.
- Take some technology-free time. Focus on being present in the moment without holding yourself back.
- Think about time / energy boundaries. If they can’t easily commit to more time spent together, scale back.
- Things change – it’s inevitable. Welcome the change as a chance to grow together into something better.
- Don’t hide things from one another. Being honest is hard sometimes, but always a good idea.
- Share interests. Chatting when bored is great, but engaging in your community is even more meaningful.
- Be honest about what you want and need from the relationship. Your needs should rise above the rest.
- Plan time for just the two of you. Even if you usually hang in a group, one-on-one time is crucial.
- Check in about the serious stuff. Let them know you care, rather than letting an issue go ignored.
- Take time for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be alone sometimes. Take the time you need.
- Don’t forget to laugh. A good relationship should be fun (most of the time). Don’t let it become a chore.
- Try something new together. A new shared activity can bond you like nothing else can.
- Don’t just wait for your time to talk. Try a conversation where you focus only on them & their interests.
- Expect low points in your relationship. Not everyone can give 100% all the time. Be understanding.
- Negotiate for the relationship you need. Focus on what means the most to you and go from there.
Be an Active Witness
An active witness observes a conflict, unacceptable behaviour, or unsafe situation and is brave enough to take action. An active bystander does not ignore the situation, look away, or call it something else.
A bystander is someone who observes a conflict, unacceptable behaviour, or unsafe situation. The conflict, situation, or behaviour being observed might be something serious or minor, one-time or repeated. The bystander may not know what to do and may expect others to do something to help. See ‘Help Someone’ for more information on how to be an active witness.
Attend Training & Events
- Register for upcoming training sessions
- Leaders’ Forum
- Consent & Sexual Violence Awareness Week
- Faculty/Staff Training
- R.A.D. Training
- Upstander Training
- Free Online Training:
- Healthy Youth Relationships – short course developed by Canadian Red Cross and Mind your Mind
- Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence – training developed by Western’s Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children (CREVAC)