The act of willingly and voluntarily agreeing to engage in specific sexual behaviour that requires a person may freely choose between two options – yes and no.


A specific articulation of what a person does and does not want. Crossing a boundary compromises voluntary consent and can lead to sexual assault, harassment, violence and/or coercion.

Rape culture:

A concept that frames sexual assault as acceptable usually due to attitudes about sexuality and gender. This encompasses victim blaming, sexual objectification, trivialization of rape, denial of rape statistics and refusing to acknowledge the harm in sexual assault. Very prevalent in mass media such as television, movies, music and art. It also targets a person’s socioeconomic class, culture, race, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and strongly impacts their experience and ability to access resources.

Sexual violence:

An umbrella term that includes, but is not limited to sexual assault, sexual coercion, sexual harassment, acquaintance sexual assault and drug-facilitated sexual assault. Sexual violence is a sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence, whether physical and/or psychological. Violence, in this instance, is defined as threats of physical force or power and/or persistent pressure to engage in sexual acts that can result in physical and/or psychological trauma.

Acquaintance sexual assault:

Sexual contact that is forced, manipulated, or coerced by a partner, friend or acquaintance.

Drug-facilitated sexual assault:

The use of alcohol and/or drugs (prescription or non-prescription) by a perpetrator to control, overpower or subdue a person for purposes of sexual assault.

Date rape:

Date rape can be interchangeable with acquaintance sexual assault and sometimes in conjunction with drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Rape or sexual assault:

The term rape is no longer commonly used. It was replaced with sexual assault to acknowledge that sexual violence is not about sex, but about acts of psychological and physical dominance and violence. Sexual assault provides a much broader definition that includes all acts of unwanted touching, kissing and other unwanted sexual activity.

Sexual coercion:

Unreasonable and persistent pressure and the expectation of sexual activity. It is the use of emotional manipulation, such as blackmail or threats to the individual or their family and friends. It also includes the threat of self-harm or the promise of special treatment to persuade someone to perform particular sexual acts.

Sexual harassment:

Unwelcome sexual attention and/or comments that are considered offensive, inappropriate, intimidating and/or hostile. It also includes requests for sexual favours, indecent exposure, stalking, voyeurism, cyber harassment, sexual exploitation and non-consensual posting of photos and/or offensive comments/slurs/stereotypes on social media.

Survivor and/or victim:

Any individual who has experienced sexual assault. Victim is usually used in formal and legal proceedings. Survivor is the preferred term as it frames the person as having survived and is therefore empowered. The term victim can remove the person’s power and initiate post-traumatic feelings, thoughts and emotions.

Support person:

Any person who is sought out by the survivor for the purpose of confiding, sharing and disclosing a recent or a history of sexual assault or abuse. This person may include, but is not limited to, faculty, staff, peers, employers, medical practitioners, counsellors and faith practitioners.

Safety plan:

A plan with concrete steps that helps ensure safety of the survivor and prevention of future incidents. It is related to academic, housing, social and recreational life on campus. It will also include actions a person can take in the event of an immediate physical and/or emotional threat.