Sexual violence is any form of sexualized behavior that occurs without consent. Consent is verbal or nonverbal affirmative communication, and is required to be voluntary, affirmative and continuous. Sexual Violence is a broader category that just sexual assault (unwanted sexual touching) and includes experiences such as stalking, street harassment (ie. Cat-calling), revenge porn, jokes about sexual assaults, and others.
In our Canadian culture, certain harmful narratives exist around sexual violence that creates a rape culture and an environment where victims/ survivors are often blamed for experiencing violence. Questions like, “What were you wearing,” “Why were you drinking?” or comments like, “They would never do that, they’re a good person,” “You just regret that you had sex with them” all put the onus on the victim/survivor and not on the perpetrator. Sexual violence is never the fault of the victim/survivor.