About sexual violence

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

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

Who is affected by sexual violence

Sexual violence crosses all social boundaries, affects people of every age and cultural background, and has devastating impacts on the lives of survivors and their families as well as the well-being of society.

  • 1 in 3 Canadian women experience sexual violence
  • 1 in 8 Canadian men experience sexual violence

Help somebody else

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 them options and resources but allow them to make their own choices.

Learn about supports for people who are experiencing violence.

Facts about consent


  • 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  • can be withdrawn at any time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 are experiencing sexual violence or are at risk

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

You can also get help by:

Learn about more places to get help if you are experiencing violence of any kind.