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  • can be withdrawn at any time;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

September 14, 2023

The Critical Importance of Contacting a Lawyer Immediately After an Accident or Injury

Accidents happen when we least expect them, leaving us stunned, injured, and bewildered about what steps to take next. Whether it's a car accident, a slip and fall, a dog bite, a workplace mishap, or any other type of accident, one thing remains constant: time is of the essence. In the aftermath of an accident, reaching out to a lawyer immediately might just be the most crucial decision you can make.

Read More
Beckett Personal Injury Office In Downtown London

August 30, 2023

Team Beckett and Canadian Blood Services: A Partnership for Life

We take for granted that blood will be there when we need it. But this summer, Canada’s blood inventory is extremely strained, with over 100,000 open appointments urgently requiring donors.

Read More
Beckett Personal Injury Office In Downtown London

August 23, 2023

I Was Injured In A Hit And Run. Am I Out Of Luck?

Being injured in a motor vehicle accident is a distressing event for anyone. It is only made more stressful when the at-fault driver leaves the scene before providing their insurance information. Many people believe that if they can’t identify the other driver, then there is nothing they can do. Fortunately, there are options for victims of hit and run accidents.

Read More