A new study by the Canadian Women’s Foundation reveals that less than half of the Canadian population understands the concept of consent in sexual activities.
According to Canadian law, consent should be both positive (giving consent, initiating contact, participating enthusiastically) and continuous (being maintained throughout the sexual act).
Only 45 per cent of survey respondents said those two indicators were necessary in their partner to make sure sexual activity was consensual.
Awareness of consent has increased by 33 per cent since it was first measured in 2015, but it’s clear there’s still work to be done.
“We’re hearing about sexual violence all the time in the media,” said by press release President and Executive Director of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Paulette Senior. “Even though it seems that a growing number of people know what consent is, it’s worrying that it’s still not the case for a large part of the population. Those shortcomings are leading to aggressions, and are certainly linked to our historical tendency to blame survivors for what they’ve experienced. That’s a sign Canada desperately needs to invest in consent education, and effective violence prevention measures for all age groups.”
The survey indicates that understanding of positive and ongoing consent is higher among those 54 and under (52 per cent), and lower among those 55 and over (34 per cent).
According to Statistics Canada, approximately 4.7 million women, or 30 per cent of all women 15 and older, have experienced sexual assault outside of an intimate relationship.
The survey shows that many people are affected by sexual violence to varying degrees, not just those who have been assaulted, as 42 per cent of people in Canada know a woman who’s been sexually assaulted. (C.P./IJL)
translated by Alec Brideau