Consent talk on campus
West Coast LEAF believes that post-secondary campuses can become more supportive places for sexual assault survivors when students understand the full range of options for seeking justice and healing, both within the criminal justice system and outside of it. We also believe that we can tackle the root causes of violence through conversations about the ethical and legal responsibility to get clear, affirmative, ongoing consent for all sexual activity. That’s why we’ve launched Only Yes Means Yes, a project to get students talking and learning about how the criminal justice system defines and deals with sexual assault, and what’s required sexual consent, legally and ethically.
As of May 2017, post-secondary institutions are legally required to have policies dealing with sexual violence on campus. Many of these policies include some mention of educating students about sexual assault and consent, but what exactly will that education look like? West Coast LEAF believes that legal education is a vital component, and we look forward to unpacking complex legal issues with students through a nuanced and critical social justice lens.
What is Only Yes Means Yes?
The project was guided by an advisory committee of more than 25 diverse post-secondary students and by post-secondary staff and community members.
We continue to offer the workshop at post-secondary institutions and in other community spaces. Learn more and book a workshop today!
Listen to our interview about Only Yes Means Yes on CJSF 90.1 FM, SFU campus radio!
Why did West Coast LEAF take on this project?
Since 1999, West Coast LEAF has reached many thousands of BC youth aged 10 to 15 with our No Means No workshop on sexual assault and consent, and have often received requests to present to post-secondary students.
We have also intervened in legal cases dealing with sexual assault, including most recently the inquiry into the victim-blaming conduct of former judge Robin Camp (which resulted in a recommendation to remove him from the bench) and College of Massage Therapists of BC v Scott (which clarified that governing bodies regulating health professions can take interim measures to protect the public from a practitioner accused of sexual assault or misconduct).
Currently, we are engaged in a law reform project called Dismantling the Barriers to Reporting Sexual Assault that will draw on the experiences and knowledge of sexual assault survivors, anti-violence workers, police, former Crown, retired judges, academics, and defense counsel to identify how the criminal justice system can better respond to reports of sexual violence. Our learning from from Dismantling the Barriers has informed the development of Only Yes Means Yes.
Get in touch
Anybody interested in Only Yes Means Yes is encouraged to contact Alana Prochuk, Manager of Public Legal Education at West Coast LEAF, to learn more. She can be reached at education [at] westcoastleaf [dot] org or 604-684-8772, extension 117. Her regular office days are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
This project is made possible by generous funding from: