Definitions

You Need To Know.

Ageism

Prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age.

Ableism

Discrimination in favour of able-bodied people.

Child Sexual Abuse

The Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act defines child sexual abuse as follows:
“A child under 18 years of age is sexually abused if he/she is inappropriately exposed or subjected to sexual contact, activity or behaviour, including prostitution related activities.”
Statistics show that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by age 18.

Consent

Permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.

Consent Laws

Refers to the Age of Consent Laws currently established within the Canadian Legal Code. The Age of Consent definition is the minimum age at which a person is considered to be legally competent of consenting to sexual acts.

The age of consent for sexual activity in Canada is 16 years old. However, in relationships where there is a significant power difference (offender is a caregiver, in a relationship of authority, trust, or dependency) the age of consent is raised to 18 years old; this includes prostitution and pornography.

It is important to know the “close in age” or “peer group” exceptions.
A 14 or 15 year old can consent to sexual activity with a partner as long as the partner is less than five years older and there is no relationship of trust, authority, or dependency.
For 12 and 13 year olds: consent can be given as long as the partner is less than two years older and there is no relationship of trust, authority, or dependency.
For more information: Department of Justice Canada.

Date Rape Drug

A drug that causes temporary loss of memory or inhibition, given to a survivor (sometimes discreetly) in order to facilitate sexual assault.
Some common date rape drugs are: Rohypnol, GHB (Gamma-hyroxybutrate), Ketamine, and Alcohol.
Alcohol is considered to be a drug and it is the most common drug used in cases of date rape.
For more information: Federal Government’s Source for Women’s Health
.

Emergency Contraceptive

Refers to contraceptive measures that, if taken after sex, may prevent pregnancy.

Feminism

A social justice movement that strives to secure gender equality in the political, economic, and social realm. It recognizes that the power dynamics in society are set up to reward privilege (which leads to entitlement) and seeks to dismantle these ideas in the interest of promoting safety and freedom for everyone.

HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk. Within these bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells. The four major routes of transmission are unsafe sex, contaminated needles, breast milk, and transmission from an infected mother to her baby at birth (vertical transmission).

Heterosexism

Discrimination or prejudice against homosexuals on the assumption that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation.

Homophobia

An extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people.

Human Trafficking

The act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them.
For more information about human trafficking: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Patriarchy

A system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.

Racism

Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief.

Rape Culture

A description of a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence.
“In rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. Within this culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. However, much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change.” – Feminism 101
For more information: Finally Feminism 101.

STI: Sexually Transmitted Infection

A contagious infection contracted through sexual contact.

Sexism

The belief or attitude that one gender or sex is inferior to, less competent, or less valuable than the other.

Sexual Assault*

A crime of violence, not passion. It is about using sex as a weapon to gain power over another person, to hurt, dominate, humiliate, and control. All forms of sexual behaviour wherein a person is forced, tricked, or coerced into sexual acts without their consent or is left feeling violated sexually are included within the definition of sexual violence. Please be aware that these levels do not reflect the impact to survivors. ALL levels of sexual assault are a violation of your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional self.

  • Level 1: This occurs when a person is kissed, sexually touched or forced to have intercourse without his or her consent.
  • Level 2: This occurs when a person is sexually assaulted by someone who has a weapon (or pretends to have one), if the offender threatens to harm another person if he or she does not participate in a sexual act, or if more than one person sexually assaults him or her.
  • Level 3: This is when a person is wounded, disfigured, beaten, or in danger of losing his or her life while being sexually assaulted.

*Sexual assaults levels 1 through 3 are defined according to the Canadian Criminal Code (pdf).

Sexual Exploitation

The sexual abuse of children and youth through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money. It could also involve children and youth coerced into creating pornography and sexually explicit websites.
For more information: Centre for Counselling and Community Safety.

Sexual Harassment

The Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission defines Sexual harassment as follows:
“Any unwelcome behaviour, sexual in nature, that adversely affects, or threatens to affect, directly or indirectly, a person’s job security, working conditions or prospects for promotion or earnings; or prevents a person from getting a job, living accommodations or any kind of public service.”

Sexual Violence

An inclusive term for sexual assault, sexual abuse (including child abuse), and sexual harassment.

Survivor

An individual who has experienced any form of sexual violence; this includes childhood sexual abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.