The meaning of consent and support for sexual assault.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is when someone touches your body in a sexual way without your consent. It includes all unwanted sexual acts, such as kissing and fondling, not just intercourse or oral sex.

You have been sexually assaulted if the reason you let someone have sex with you is because you are scared or because you are afraid you will be hurt. It is sexual assault if someone has sexual activity with you when you are drunk, on drugs, passed out or asleep. For more information, see the following links:

What is consent?

Consent means saying yes to something, provided that you understand what you are agreeing to and can give your consent freely.

Consent for any sexual activity must be freely given. Consent cannot be given by someone who is intoxicated, unconscious or otherwise considered incapable of giving their consent. Consent can also not be freely given if it happens after being threatened. This could be a threat to your to personal safety, or threats to harm others. Learn more:

What is the legal age of consent in Canada?

In Canada, you must generally be 16 years of age or older to have sex legally. Some exceptions are below:

  • A 12 or 13 year-old can consent to sex with someone less than two years older.
  • A 14 or 15 year-old can consent to sex with someone less than five years older.
  • A person under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to sex with someone in a position of authority such as a teacher, coach, babysitter, family member, employer.
  • Sex with a person under the age of 12 is illegal. It is a sexual assault.

Learn more about the law around the age of consent and Canada's laws around consent to sexual activity.

What should you do if you or someone you know been sexually assaulted?

It is very important to get help and tell someone. This can be difficult but there are many free and confidential support services to help you. Here are some places to get help.

It is also very important to take good care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. It is important to see a health care provider as soon as you are able after an assault, so that they can treat any physical symptoms and perform tests to ensure your safety.

Caring for your emotional well-being after a traumatic event like this is also important. Every person responds in a different way to sexual assault and violence. Some people get angry while others feel ashamed or sad. It can help to talk to someone about what happened. Read on for more information about taking care of yourself after being assaulted.

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