From high profile cases in the media to Canadian students and faculty calling for change across college and university campuses, the term “Consent” is being put under a microscope. Our understanding of this word raises communication to a whole new level in a fast paced digital world where dialogue can be as quick as a text, tweet or even a sound bite.
Consent forces us to slow down and listen to all that is being communicated. It encourages us to be aware of not only our own boundaries but also of the boundaries of others. It helps us to understand what has been communicated and to find safe space in which to express our needs, wants and desires while respecting the rights of another individual. If you’re really paying attention, consent can only deepen our connection to others; after all is this not the common link that ties the human experience together.
Statistics tell us that one in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime, while less than one in ten assaults are reported to the authorities. Most sexual assaults happen by someone the victim knows. (Stats Can 2004)
For the next three years SWOVA Community Development and Research Society will be looking more closely at these issues with their new project Consent and Sexual Assault – Prevention and Response, funded by Status of Women Canada. Project Coordinator Sharyn Carroll will be focusing on awareness and response to these issues on Mayne, Galiano, Salt Spring, Saturna and Pender Islands.
This venture will conduct a review of community knowledge for prevention of and intervention in sexual assault for youth and adults. It’s goal is to facilitate shared, consistent language regarding what constitutes sexual consent and sexual assault under Canadian law. The project will explore inter-agency protocols, policies and procedures for victims of sexual assault and include community involvement. A Needs Assessment Survey and forming of an Advisory Committee are the first stages of the project.
SWOVA is excited to partner with the RCMP, Victim Services, Options for Sexual Health, IWAV, Island Health, SD #64, GISS PAC and other key organizations on such a valuable project for the betterment of our communities.
We are grateful for the support of our Federal Government in providing funding of for this 3-year project.
For more information or if you have any questions please contact SWOVA at