Action to prevent sexualized violence begins with learning and open dialogue. Check out the menu items listed in the Learn section on the Project Respect website at to learn all about what sexualized violence is, consent, labels, statistics, and more. The following information is taken from the Project Respect website,and used with the permission of the Victoria Women's Sexual Assault Centre.
Consent, Drugs and Alcohol and the Law
We don't want you to miss out on these three topics as we think there is sometimes confusion among youth about what consent means, when there's drugs and alcohol involved and the Law.

  • What Does Consent Actually Mean?
  • What's the deal when Drugs and Alcohol are involved?
  • What are the Laws?

    Consent is a mutual verbal, physical, and emotional agreement that happens without manipulation, threats, or head games.

    Consent is a whole body experience. It is not just a verbal "yes" or "no" – it involves paying attention to your partner as a person and checking in with physical and emotional cues as well.

    Consent is also mutual (both people have to agree) and must be continuous. You can stop at any time, you can change your mind, and just because you said yes to one thing doesn't mean you have consented to anything else.

    At Project Respect, we believe that everyone has the right to sexuality without violence and as part of that, we believe that positive sexuality begins with enthusiastic consent. This means being as excited and into someone else's enjoyment as we are excited and into our own enjoyment. Only yes means yes – and yes should come from an engaged and enthusiastic partner.

    One blogger writes:
    "Consent isn't a question. It's a state. If, instead of lovers, the two of you were synchronized swimmers, consent would be the water. It's not enough to jump in, get wet and climb out -- if you want to swim, you have to be in the water continually. And if you want to have sex, you have to be continually in a state of enthusiastic consent with your partner."

    Consent and open communication are key to positive sexual experiences for everyone involved.

    Remember: Only Yes Means Yes

    Just because you dressed a certain way…
    Just because you like each other…
    Just because you didn't say anything…
    Just because you've done it before…
    Just because you're a man…
    Just because you got wasted…
    Just because you went on a date…

    Doesn't mean yes! Only yes means yes!

    Drugs and Alcohol
    Sex under the influence

    Some people think that being high or drunk makes it easier to be sexual. Some even think it makes it better. But 29% of youth say they have gone further sexually than they wanted to when using drugs or alcohol. Substances lower inhibitions. It may feel great in the moment, but the next day…possible regrets.

    The reality is drugs and alcohol make us vulnerable, even when they make us feel invincible.

    Risks of mixing Sex and Substances:

    Pressuring someone to go farther sexually than they want
    Unable to think clearly
    Not in your usual state-of-mind
    Makes it hard to communicate sexual limits
    Not using condoms or practicing safe sex
    Going past what you are normally comfortable with
    Getting into a dangerous place, like an apartment or car
    Less able to detect danger
    Difficulty making clear decisions
    Regrets the next day
    Sexual assault

    Drugs and Alcohol and Consent

    When someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they cannot legally give their consent. Also, someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot use that as an excuse in court for assaulting someone.

    Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault

    When people talk about "date rape drugs", they often mean GHB, Ketamine, Ecstasy, Rohypnol. These kinds of drugs are often slipped unknowingly into someone's drink and then the person will take advantage of or assault the victim while they are messed up or passed out.

    Date rape drugs are any drug or alcohol that make a person lose their inhibitions, vulnerable to manipulation, or pass out. Alcohol is the most commonly used "date rape drug". GHB is being recognized as the second most common.

    Want more info about drugs and alcohol? Find out more at

    Some people do these drugs by choice. Just because someone voluntarily takes these drugs, does not mean they are asking to be assaulted. Being sexual with someone when they are too wasted to give consent, is sexualized assault.

    Think you may have been given date rape drugs?

    If you felt more "wasted" than you should have, dizzy, nauseous, foggy headed, weird, if you passed out and don't remember anything, it is possible someone may have given you a drug. It is important to seek support and medical attention if you think that you may have been given any drugs.


    GHB is an illegal drug. It comes in a clear liquid that tastes salty when undiluted. People take it mixed with water or in juice. Mixed with alcohol it can be fatal. The flavour can be masked by sweet juices or pop or tomato juice. Victims of GHB often describe feeling really drunk and then passing out or not remembering anything.


    Ketamine is a horse tranquillizer and an illegal drug for humans. It comes in a powder that is snorted or injected. It could be mixed into a drink and not detected. A person may feel drowsy, spaced out, not able to control their body, or they may pass out. It can also make a person very vulnerable to suggestion and unable to detect danger.


    "E" or "X" as is commonly called, is an illegal drug. It comes in a pill or capsule taken orally or crushed into powder and snorted. It could be mixed into a drink and not detected. Ecstasy lowers inhibitions and can make a person very vulnerable to being manipulated. People may be too trusting or be more open to doing things they wouldn't normally do. Sometimes it is offered in exchange for sexual acts or to bribe youth to get into prostitution.


    Rohypnol or Roofies, is an illegal drug in Canada. It is a prescriptive drug in some other countries and is like Valium but way stronger. Rohypnol is not as available as the other drugs but is still known as a date rape drug. It is usually a white pill and can be crushed and mixed unknowingly in drinks. The manufacturers now put a special dye in it that turns a drink cloudy or blue. But it still may go undetected. Victims of "roofies" describe feeling more drunk or high than what they expected, dizzy, nauseous, sleepy or that they passed out. Other sedatives will also have these effects.

    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):

    Children under 12 are never considered able to consent to sexual activity.
    Children 12 or more, but under 16, are unable to consent to sexual acts unless it is a specific situation with their peers.
    For youth under 18, consent to sexual activity is not valid if the person is in a position of trust or authority over them.
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