It’s Not Just: National campaign raises youth awareness about gender-based violence 

News release

December 1, 2022 – Toronto, Ontario – Women and Gender Equality Canada

It’s not just locker room talk. It’s not just a bad day. It’s not just flirting. Gender-based violence is a serious issue that affects everyone in Canada, especially young women, girls, and transgender and gender-diverse people. When someone faces violence because of their gender, gender expression, or perceived gender identity, it is a violation of their human rights.

Today at York University in Toronto, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, launched “It’s Not Just”, a national campaign to raise youth awareness about gender-based violence. Minister Ien was joined by Rhonda Lenton, President of York University, and several students to discuss how gender-based violence is impacting youth in Canada.

“It’s Not Just” highlights how some forms of gender-based violence are diminished. The campaign seeks to help youth understand that gender-based violence is more than just physical and sexual violence: Emotional, financial, and cyber violence are forms of gender-based violence that can be just as harmful and have lasting psychological impacts. The campaign also highlights how some groups, including black and racialized women, women with disabilities, 2SLGBTQI+ people, and newcomer women to Canada, are at higher risk of experiencing gender-based violence. “It’s Not Just” aims to increase awareness of gender-based violence, build knowledge, and ultimately shift beliefs and actions to disrupt the cycle of violence too many Canadians experience daily.

The campaign is a collaboration with partner organizations, front-line service providers, experts, academics, advocates, and youth from various backgrounds. Women and Gender Equality Canada is partnering with YWCA Canada, Wisdom2Action, DAWN Canada, FOXY/SMASH, Platform, White Ribbon Canada, The Centre for Sexuality, GRIS Montreal, Interval House of Hamilton, the Circle Education, and Queer Yukon Society to reach and capture the insights of youth, specifically those from marginalized and underrepresented communities.


“Young Canadians are at a higher risk of experiencing gender-based violence, even more so if they are young woman or girls (under 25); black or racialized women; newcomer women to Canada; women with disabilities; LGB+ people and people of other sexual orientations than heterosexual; transgender or gender diverse people; women living in Northern, rural or remote communities; Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. “It’s Not Just” empowers youth to dismantle violent systems and support survivors of this violence. By recognizing and refusing to dismiss gender-based violence, we will work together to end GBV and make Canada safer for everyone.”

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

” We are pleased to join the Honourable Minister Ien at York University to announce the “It’s Not Just” youth campaign. Gender-based and sexual violence continue to be prevalent in our society, and campaigns like “It’s Not Just” play an important educative role aimed at prevention. Advancing social justice and equity is embedded in the fabric of our institution and is demonstrated through our commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At York, we are committed to ending gender-based violence 365 days a year, through our advocacy, teaching and learning, research and support services.” 

Rhonda Lenton, President of York University

Quick facts

  • According to the 2019 Survey on Individual Safety in the Postsecondary Student Population, among students attending a postsecondary institution located in the provinces of Canada, almost one in seven (15%) women students had been sexually assaulted in the postsecondary setting at least once since they started their studies – three times the proportion of men students (5%).

  • Young women aged 15-24 were 6 times more likely to have experienced sexual assault in the 12 months preceding a 2018 survey than women 25 and older.

  • In 2018, one in two (50%) LGB+ women and one in four (26%) LGB+ men in Canada were sexually assaulted since age 15; significantly more than among heterosexual women (30%) and men (8%).

  • In Canada, self-reported data collected in 2018 indicates that Indigenous women were more likely than non-Indigenous women to have been sexually assaulted at least once since age 15 (46% versus 33%, respectively).

  • In 2018, women with disabilities (39%) are 1.6 times more likely than women without disabilities (24%) to have experienced sexual assault since age 15. For men with disabilities, the likelihood is twice as high (13%) as among men without disabilities (6%).

Associated links


Johise Namwira
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Media Relations
Women and Gender Equality Canada

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