Text reads Consent Awareness Week, Sept 19- 23, 2022

What is consent?

September 20, 2022

VIU’s Thrive team shares some facts, myths and resources

Content warning: this article deals with the topic of sexual consent. We have included a list of supports at the bottom of this article. 

Consent Awareness Week is September 19 to 23. This week is an opportunity to reflect, champion and celebrate consent as a cornerstone of all relationships, not just intimate ones. To acknowledge this important week, VIU’s Thrive team has some information to share. Read on to learn more about what consent means and myths about consent, as well as facts and resources.

What is consent?

Consent is active. Only yes means yes. If someone does not say yes, you do not have their consent.

Consent is a process. It requires ongoing conversations and respect. Everybody has the right to change their mind at any point. Just because someone says yes to one thing, does not mean they are consenting to all activities.

Consent is a choice. Everyone should have the right to say yes or no without pressure, threats, manipulation or potential repercussions. If you have to convince someone to say yes, then you do not have their consent.

Consent is necessary with every sexual interaction. Just because you have a sexual history with someone does not mean that you have their continued consent. You must get consent every time you engage in a sexual activity with someone.

Myths about consent

Myth No.1: Consent is silent. If someone does not say no, you have their consent. 

Truth: Consent is not silent. The absence of a no is not a yes. Consent must be obtained with a verbal yes before each sexual encounter.

Myth No.2: Asking for consent ruins the “mood.”

Truth: Consent must be freely given, and thus must be given with excitement! Making sure all parties are okay with what is happening will not ruin the mood.

Consent is …

Reversible! A person can change their mind at any given time during a sexual encounter. When someone changes their mind, you must stop what you are doing immediately. 

Sober! A person who is intoxicated or unconscious cannot properly give consent.

Freely given! No one should feel pressured or threatened to say yes. If they are not giving consent freely, then you do not have their consent.

Enthusiastic! If it is not enthusiastic, it is not consent. No one should feel forced to say yes.

Did you know?

  • According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, only about 28 per cent of people in Canada fully understand what consent is.
  • According to Statistics Canada, there are 636,000 sexual assaults that are self-reported in Canada every year.
  • According to Statistics Canada, 71 per cent of post-secondary students in Canada have either witnessed or experienced unwanted sexual behaviours in the school setting.
  • According to the Government of Canada’s Courage to Act project, 41 per cent of all reported sexual assaults are reported by post-secondary students.


Resources are available to you if you experience sexual violence. Please reach out for support.

Counsellors at VIU: You can book an appointment with them at the Health and Wellness Centre. There are also a limited number of urgent appointments available every day. 

VIU Health and Wellness Centre: Nurse Practitioners are available by appointment in Building 200, third floor. To book an appointment, call: 1.250.740.6620.

Vancouver Island Crisis Line: This is a 24-7 telephone service available by calling 1.888.494.3888. Text service is available from 6 to 10 pm seven days a week at 1.250.800.3806.

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