What is sexual violence?

Be informed.

Learn more about sexual and gender-based violence to be part of the solution.

Know the language

For the full list of definitions, please read the complete University of Calgary Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Policy. 

Consent means giving permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. In sexual situations, the initiator needs to take reasonable steps to establish consent and actively seek it during sexual activity. The age of consent in Canada is 16. 

You have the right to withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity. 

Sexual assault is any unwanted act of a sexual nature imposed on another person without their consent. 

Sexual harassment is unwanted or uninvited sexual remarks, gestures, sounds or actions that make a person feel unsafe, degraded or uncomfortable. 

Sexual exploitation is when a person in a position of trust or power uses that power to start or attempt sexual activity with another person. 

Learn the facts

Sexual violence is prevalent


According to the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services and Statistics Canada, an estimated 1.8 million Albertans (45 per cent of the population) have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Two in three women and one in three men have experienced some form of sexual violence in Alberta. 

With these high rates of sexual violence, it is critical to raise awareness to build an increasingly safe environment where our community can flourish. 


Women are disproportionately affected

Though sexual and gender-based violence can impact all genders, 87 per cent of survivors are women. In Alberta, women are more likely than men to report unwanted sexual behaviours in public, online, and in the workplace.

Discrimination creates vulnerability

Deeply rooted and systemic oppression such as racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, colonialism and ableism lead certain groups to be especially vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence. 

In Canada, women of all ages including Indigenous, those living with disabilities, and those living in rural and remote regions, are at greater risk to experience this violence, along with LGBTQ2S+ individuals. 

Most victims/survivors know the person that caused them harm

In cases where a charge of sexual violence is laid by the police, 87 per cent of victims know their assailant, and they are most commonly a casual acquaintance, family member or intimate partner. 

Contrary to popular belief, most cases of sexual violence do not occur in dark, dangerous places, but rather in private spaces such as homes or residences.

A majority of Canadian post-secondary students will witness or experience sexual violence

In 2019, 71 per cent of students at Canadian post-secondary institutions witnessed or experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours in a postsecondary setting in 2019—either on campus, or in an off-campus situation that involved students or other people associated with the school.

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Resources for Download

Through a trauma informed approach, the University of Calgary has developed downloadable resources for supporters and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, including self-care colouring books and informative postcards.

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Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Information



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I believe you postcard
i believe you post card