Only "yes" means "yes".

The Law

Sexual assault is any sexual activity without consent.

Rape or sexual assault? Rape refers specifically to sexual intercourse without consent. We use the term sexual assault because it includes all forced sexual activity, not just rape.


*these are only brief descriptions of the current Canadian laws. For more specific information, it is best to talk to someone with specific knowledge of the legal system - like a Victim Service worker. Contact us.

Sexual Assault

Level 1 – Sexual Assault
It is a crime if someone forces any form of sexual activity on someone else (ie. kissing, fondling, touching, oral sex, anal sex, intercourse, etc.) without that person’s consent.

Level 2 – Sexual Assault with a Weapon
It is a crime if, during a sexual assault:

  • The attacker either uses a weapon or threatens to use a weapon (imitation or real).
  • The attacker causes bodily harm to the victim,
  • The attacker threatens to harm a person other than the victim,
  • More than one person assaults the victim in the same incident.

Level 3 – Aggravated Sexual Assault
It is a crime if, while committing a sexual assault, the attacker:

  • Wounds, maims, disfigures, or brutally beats the victim,
  • Endangers the life of the victim.

(adapted from Today’s Talk about Sexual Assault: a Booklet for Teens, 1997)




At Project Respect, we define consent as "a mutual, verbal, physical, and emotional agreement that happens without manipulation, threats or head games".

  • Consent is for every act - just because someone said "yes" to one thing doesn't mean that they have consented to anything else.
  • Consent is also continous - that is, a person has the right to stop at any time and change their mind if they want to.
  • Any pressure, force, or violence negates consent.


According to the legal definition of consent, as of May 1, 2008 (1):