Clarity on Consent – Sexual Violence on Campus

September 23, 2021

Clarity on Consent – Sexual Violence on Campus's article image

Sexual assault is a crime and has no place in our communities. The recent reports of sexual violence at Western University confirm what we already knew: sexual violence is endemic on post-secondary school campuses and a culture shift is long overdue.

In an Ontario-wide Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey (2019), a third of students reported being sexually assaulted in the previous 12 months and 71% had experienced sexual harassment. Post-secondary students, especially those in their first year, are uniquely vulnerable to sexual violence.

The recent events have also reignited discussions about drug and alcohol-facilitated sexual assault and its intersection with consent. Myths about consent remain common, and the legal definition of consent is even more misunderstood. A few basic points on consent bear repeating. 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  • can be withdrawn at any time;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; and
  • cannot be given by anyone other than the person participating in the sexual activity.


Educational institutions have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their students. Increasing security, investing in training, and changing policies surrounding the response to sexual violence is a step in the right direction. However, it does not undo the harm already inflicted and may be cold comfort to some survivors.

We understand that each journey of trauma and healing is unique. For some, the civil and criminal court systems can provide a path towards justice and accountability. For others, healing happens outside the courtroom, with medical professionals, counsellors, and loved ones. Many find strength and solidarity in community – as was done with the walk-out march last Friday.

At Beckett, we stand with survivors. To all survivors, we encourage you to make the choice that feels right. We will be here, if and when you need us.

If you have been impacted by sexual or gender-based violence, supports are available.

  • Anova’s 24/7 Crisis and Support Line: 519-642-3000
  • London Abused Women’s Helpline: 519-642-3000
  • Beckett’s line for a free legal consultation: 519-673-4994

Published on September 23, 2021

Beckett Personal Injury Office In Downtown London

March 14, 2023

Survivors applaud move by the Jesuits to publish names of abusers

The decision by the Jesuits of Canada to publish a list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children has been praised by survivors, many of whom have call on more Catholic entities to follow suit.

Read More
Common Mistakes Following A Car Accident

March 13, 2023

Common Mistakes Following A Car Accident

In this article, we discuss the biggest mistakes people make following a car accident and how you can avoid them.

Read More
Staying Safe On Spring Road Trips

March 10, 2023

Staying Safe On Spring Road Trips

Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation. The cold winter months are behind us and the warmer weather brings with it the promise of new growth and a fresh start. However, it is important to remember that the changing weather can have a significant impact on road conditions. Here are some tips to help keep you safe on the roads as spring arrives.

Read More