Sexual violence is a broad term that describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality.

Sexual Violence 

Sexual violence takes different forms and can include:

  • sexual abuse
  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • incest
  • childhood sexual abuse
  • rape during armed conflict
  • sexual harassment
  • stalking
  • indecent or sexualized exposure
  • degrading sexual imagery
  • voyeurism
  • cyber harassment
  • trafficking
  • sexual exploitation


  • should never be assumed or implied;
  • is not silence or the absence of “no”;
  • cannot be given if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, or unconscious;
  • can never be obtained through threats or coercion;
  • can be withdrawn at any time;
  • cannot be given if the perpetrator abuses a position of trust, power or authority;
  • cannot be given by anyone other than the person participating in the sexual activity (for example, your parent, brother or sister, girlfriend or boyfriend, spouse, friend and so on, cannot consent for you or on your behalf).

If you think you are at risk of sexual violence or might have experienced sexual violence, tell someone you trust.

If you think that someone might be at risk of sexual violence, you can help by:

  • getting them to a safe space
  • asking the person directly if they need help or if they would like you to stay with them

If someone tells you about an incident that sounds like sexual assault, listen to them and believe them. It is important that they are in control of what happens next. You can offer those options and resources but allow them to make their own choices.

Survivors also have access to a 24-hour, multilingual, toll-free phone line for immediate crisis and referral services at 1-866-887-0015.