Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, has released the following statement in recognition of Consent Awareness Day:
“Today marks Consent Awareness Day in British Columbia. This is a new day of awareness, but not a new issue. Gender-based and sexualized violence remain prevalent in communities of every kind, and an understanding of consent is essential.
“We also live in a society where rape culture persists; for example, how some people talk and joke about people’s bodies and sexualized violence, how sexualized violence is normalized and survivors are blamed.
“In the context of sexual activities, consent means giving voluntary permission to engage in a sexual activity. Consent is a freely given enthusiastic yes. It is ongoing and continuously discussed. Consent can be taken away at any time.
“Consent awareness is about having conversations with our friends, families and community members. It is also about supporting survivors and preventing victimization.
“Consent is essential. Consent is the law.
“Sexual assault has devastating and long-lasting effects. For this reason, we have committed to develop an action plan to end gender-based violence, which includes raising awareness around consent.
“Awareness of consent is being actively promoted right now at B.C. post-secondary institutions. As a new semester is underway, we want to support students in creating safe, inclusive and welcoming spaces.
“The Province also recently provided additional funding of $500,000 to public post-secondary institutions to support and enhance sexualized violence reporting systems. We have heard from people who are calling for increased education on consent. This funding will help each institution implement new or enhance existing services that are trauma-informed, survivor-centric and easily accessible to students.
“We also know that survivors of sexualized violence need support, which is why we have committed to stable, ongoing funding to support emergency sexual assault services, in addition to funding for more than 400 victim-service and violence-against-women prevention programs throughout the province to ensure people who need help are getting the counselling and assistance they need.
“We all have a responsibility in preventing sexualized violence and that starts with consent.”