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Understanding Consent and Sexual Violence

Consent is...

Whether you want to hold someone's hand, dance with them, share photos online, or hook up, consent is not just golden, but also it's mandatory!

check-mark.jpgConsent is golden! It’s an essential part of sex. We’re talking all kinds of sex: sex with your hands, sex with your mouth, sex with toys, plus all those acts that may lead to sex like cuddling, sexting or making out. Consent is a must for all of this hot stuff. Everyone has to get “the okay” before getting busy in any way.

speech-bubbles.jpgConsent means getting the “good to go” from everyone involved, whether it’s two people or a group of people, everyone must consent. Consent is active, so if you change your mind at any point, no worries. You can stop giving consent or withdraw consent at any time. Everyone has the right to decide if they’re just not feeling it anymore.

heart.jpgSo you get “the okay” to touch them here, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the okay to touch them there. We should ask and ask again, especially when trying new things. Checking in to make sure your sexual partner is enjoying themselves not only keeps everyone comfortable but it’s also incredibly sexy! It means your sexual partner knows you respect them and it lets you know that things are going well.

arrows.jpgHooked up with a person in the past? That doesn’t mean you’ve automatically got consent right now or in the future. Consent is a decision every time – it can never be assumed to exist just because you’ve done it before. Ask again!

exclamation.jpgPressuring someone into sex is coercion, not consent. We automatically imagine coercion as being rough and forceful, but it can be as simple as nagging or making your partner feel guilty about not wanting to have sex or try something new like texting naked pics. A lot of times, people think sexual pressure is okay because it’s not like you’re physically forcing someone into anything. But pressuring someone is still coercion. You should never have to talk your sexual partner into doing anything they don’t want to do.

rings.jpgConsent is required no matter what your relationship looks like. Whether you’re getting hot and heavy on a one-night stand, having some casual romance or are in a committed relationship, consent needs to be there. Sexual content without consent is a form of sexual violence. No one consents to sexual violence.

Need Help Right Now?

Gendered and Sexual Violence Prevention and Supports:

24 Hour Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Lines:

  • Waterloo: 519.741.8633
  • Brantford: 519.751.3471


  • 911

Special Constable Services:

  • Waterloo: 519.885.3333 (external phones) or x3333 (on-campus phones)
  • Brantford: 519.770.3778 (external phones) or x3333 (on-campus phones)
Download SAFEHawk App

Consent is Not...

✘ Assumed

✘ Implied (based on relationship status)

✘ Given through silence

✘ The absence of “no”

✘ Given by someone who is drunk or high

✘ Given by someone who is asleep or unconscious

✘ Obtained through ultimatums, coercion or pressure, even if it’s subtle

✘ Obtained if the initiator is in a position of trust, power or authority over the person (such as a professor, boss or leader)

This content was written by individuals from Advocates for a Student Culture of Consent (ASCC).

Sex as a Jam Session

The following video was created by sex educator Karen B. K. Chan; it explores practices of consensual sexual communication.

Consent and Power Imbalances

Often when we talk about consent, we assume a "yes" is a "yes" and a "no" is a "no." To be clear, a “no” is always a “no,” but sometimes people say “yes” when they don't actually want to participate in the activity.

Our lives are full of power imbalances. This can be on an individual level (parent versus child), work or school level (boss versus employee or teacher versus student), or based on larger systems of power (such as the power imbalances created by patriarchy, racism, ableism, etc.) and are often determined by what groups hold the most amount of privilege (white, cisgender, straight, upper-class, male, etc.).

Sometimes people do not feel able to say “no” when someone with more power than them asks for something. It is important to understand that not everyone has the opportunity or capacity to express how they want to participate in any given situation or conversation. Concerns for safety and security are real and valid.

This content was adapted from LSPIRG’s Consent Campaign.

Intersecting Identities And Sexual Violence

Understanding Sexual Violence

Laurier’s Gendered and Sexual Violence Prevention and Supports operates on the sacred and traditional land of the Anishnawbe, Haudenosaunee, and Neutral peoples.