What is sexual violence?

At Langara, we believe that every individual has the right to be treated with respect and to feel safe on campus. This site is dedicated to providing you with information on how to access resources after a sexual assault as well as providing information on how to provide support. Sexual assault can be physical, verbal, mental, or emotional (or a combination). It is a form of sexual violence, and if it has happened to you, it is not ok.

Please watch this video produced by Ryerson University for a great explanation of sexual violence and sexual consent.


Below are the definitions of sexual violence and sexual consent so that you can become familiar with the terms.

What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is an umbrella term that describes any unwanted action carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality.  

Sexual violence and misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexualized stalking.
  • Indecent exposure and voyeurism.
  • Cyber harassment and cyber stalking of a sexual nature.
  • Sexual trafficking and exploitation and the distribution of sexually explicit imagery of a person or persons without consent.
  • Any attempt or threat to commit an act of sexual violence

Sexual assault is any kind of unwanted sexual touching. This can include unwanted kissing, touching and forced sexual intercourse. Sexual assault is often not about sexual desire but about power and privilege. Sexual assault is the legal term used in Canada and is a crime.

Check out our Definitions page to learn more about the terms and language used to describe sexual violence.


What is sexual consent?

Consent is an enthusiastic (and not coerced) yes! It is an active, direct, voluntary, unimpaired and conscious choice and agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to obtain consent at all stages of sexual engagement. More specifically, consent:

  • Cannot be obtained if the respondent abuses a position of trust, power or authority;
  • Cannot be assumed from previous consent to similar activities;
  • Cannot be assumed or implied;
  • Cannot be given by an individual incapacitated by alcohol, drugs or some other reason and/or who is unconscious, or otherwise incapable of providing consent;
  • Can never be obtained through an abuse of power, threats, intimidation, coercion or other pressure tactics;
  • Can be revoked at any time, whatever other sexual activities have taken place; and/or is not silence or the absence of “no.”

To learn more about consent, check out this video by RockStarDinosaurPiratePrincess and Blue Seat Studio.