Sexual Assault

Affirmative Consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. While not required by state or federal law, Canisius strongly recommends that students ask for and receive verbal consent before engaging in sexual activity. In addition,

  1. Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
  2. Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  3. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
  4. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity.  *Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
  5. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.                                                       
  6. When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop. 

Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of their gender, race, class, age, appearance, or sexual orientation. Approximately 10% of all sexual assault victims are male.

Some examples of Sexual Assault

  • A date insists that you engage in sexual activity, even though you have said you do not want to.
  • Your significant other forces you to have sex; a current or previous dating or marital relationship does not constitute consent.
  • Someone gets you drunk or drugs you in order to engage in sexual activity with you.


  • What do I do if I am Sexually Assaulted?
  • What are my options when reporting a Sexual Assault?
  • What on-campus resources are available to help me?
  • What are some of the community resources available?
  • How do I help a friend who has been Sexually Assaulted?
  • How can I reduce my risk of becoming a victim of date or acquaintance rape?