Sexualized Violence refers to an act of violence, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is characterized by an attempt to threaten, intimidate, coerce or engage in any unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature against a Member of the University Community without that Member’s consent.
Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment are subsets of Sexualized Violence, defined above. Other examples, include but are not limited to, creating and/or sharing images non-consensually, stalking, voyeurism, and stealthing
Sexual Assault is defined as:
(a) any form of sexual activity, including kissing, fondling, touching, intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration, that is forced onto the complainant without their consent; or
(b) any attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to force sexual activity onto the complainant, if the respondent had or caused the complainant to believe the respondent had present ability to act on the threat.
Sexual Harassment means:
(a) vexatious sexual conduct or a course of comment that is known or ought reasonably to be known as unwelcome;
(b) a sexual solicitation or advance made to an individual by another individual where the other individual is in a position to confer a benefit on, or deny a benefit to, the individual to whom the solicitation or advance is made, where the individual who makes the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that it is unwelcome; or
(c) a reprisal or threat of reprisal against an individual for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance.
Consent refers to the voluntary agreement of an individual. It is positive, active, and ongoing, and can be withdrawn at any time. Consenting to one kind of sexual act does not mean that consent is given for another sexual act or kind of activity. Consent cannot be obtained where a person is incapable of consenting – as may be the case when intoxicated. Consent cannot be given where a person is induced to engage in the activity by someone abusing a position of trust, power or authority.
Who experiences sexualized violence? Anyone, regardless of gender, age, education, employment status, sexual orientation, cultural background, race, ethnicity, ability or disability, ancestry or religion, can be subjected to sexualized violence.
However, sexualized violence is usually intertwined with other forms of oppression so, for example, women with disabilities or Indigenous and racialized women, may be at more risk than others. We know that sexualized violence is mostly experienced by women, children – including boys – and transgender and gender non-conforming people. .
Sexualized violence is not about desire and sexual attraction. It’s about power and control. It involves an abuse of power by a person with more social, academic, or employment power over someone with less power.