I need more information about consent!

A:

It is never our fault if someone violates our consent. If we need to talk to someone about an experience where we did not consent, we can call WAVAW’s 24-hour toll-free crisis line at 1-877-392-7583. For more information about this line, visit the website at https://www.wavaw.ca/24-hour-crisis-and-information-line/

What is consent?

Consent is an enthusiastic and freely given YES. We cannot consent to sex with people who are in a position of authority over us (like a teacher, coach, parent, or babysitter), and we cannot give consent if we are drunk or high.

Consent is about good communication, and good communication is sexy.  Communicating with our partner about what we want when it comes to sex can increase safety, pleasure, and intimacy. One great tool to help with this is Scarleteen's Yes, No, Maybe checklist!

Consent is a shared responsibility. Everyone involved must consent! When we are having sex, giving and getting consent is necessary for everyone involved, not just the person who initiated sex.

We can always change our minds about consent. We can say yes to something and decide to change our mind by saying no at any point during the activity. We can always withdraw our consent if we’re not into it at any point.

Consenting to one sexual act does not mean consenting to another. Consenting to oral sex does not mean we’re consenting to anal sex. Consenting on Friday does not mean consenting on Saturday.

Nothing makes consent automatic or unnecessary.  Being in a relationship with someone does not give us consent. Saying “I love you” is not consent. How we dress or act is not consent.

In some situations, full, informed, and free consent cannot be given or shared.  These include: being drunk, high, severely stressed out (grieving, ill, seriously upset), or unable to understand the other person’s words or other means of communicationNot stopping when someone is incapable of giving consent is sexual assault.

Non-consent means STOP.  If there’s no consent through actions or our words, STOP. Not stopping is sexual assault.

A lack of NO does NOT mean YES. Even if we don't say "no" out loud, it does not mean we have consented to a specific activity. We may be saying no in our body language, attitude, or in things we communicated before. 

If we don’t consent to a sexual act, it’s sexual assault.

It is never our fault if we are sexually assaulted. There are many ways we can take care of ourselves if we have been sexually assaulted. Finding a trusted person to talk to is a great first step. 

Some of us may choose to report sexual assault. We can report sexual assault at a clinic, hospital, or police department.  If you need to talk to someone right away call the BC Crisis Centre: 604-872-3311 or WAVAW’s 24-hour toll-free crisis line at 1-877-392-7583.

Resources


YouthCO's office is located on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh people. Our programs take place on unceded, ancestral, and traditional territories of many Indigenous nations across what is now called BC.

YouthCO believes that all youth have the right to accessible and affirming information about our health. We also know each of us has a unique relationship to our bodies, sex, sexuality, substance use, and harm reduction. For many of us, the words other people use for our bodies and their functions are not the words we use for ourselves. Throughout our website, YouthCO uses words for bodies and sex that we know will not reflect the full diversity of our communities. We have tried to, where possible, be as expansive with our language as we know how to while being as specific as possible. As youth leading the HIV movement, we too are learning about the best words for our experiences and do not do this perfectly. We invite any feedback about the language used on our website to help us move forward in the best ways for all youth in our communities!