Sexualized Violence

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. Other examples, include but are not limited to, creating and/or sharing images non-consensually, stalking, voyeurism, and stealthing.

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.

Sexualized violence is usually intertwined with other forms of oppression; for example, women with disabilities or Indigenous & racialized women may be at greater risk of experiencing sexualized violence 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.

Sexualized Violence is Never Okay

Sexualized Violence undermines the full, free and safe participation of all members of the University community by creating intimidating, hostile, or unsafe living, learning, and working conditions, environments and experiences, which can negatively impact an individuals's academic and/or employment performance and status. 

The University occupies a special place in society as an intellectual community with a responsibility for the discovery and sharing of knowledge. This aspiration can only be fulfilled with a commitment from all members of the University community to a living, learning, and working environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, and violence. 

Impact & Consequences

Physical impacts

  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
  • Change in appetite
  • Headaches
  • Stress-related ailments
  • Stomach ailments
  • Decreased energy

Emotional impacts

  • self-blame, self-doubt, and guilt
  • distress
  • denial
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • fear and anxiety
  • irritability
  • feelings of isolation
  • feelings of intimidation
  • anger
  • restlessness
  • uncertainty over the future
  • loss of ambition

Social impacts

  • Physical or emotional withdrawal from friends, family and co-workers
  • Difficulty interacting with others
  • Limiting of social interactions or self-isolation because one feels unsafe leaving the home or entering the work, study or other space in which the sexual harassment occurred
  • Generalized fears of people or things that remind one of the harassment
  • Alcohol or drug use/abuse

Career and academic impact

  • Reduced productivity
  • Decreased concentration
  • Grades or employment record suffer
  • Dropping out of school
  • Quitting one’s job
  • Threatened or actual loss of job
  • Threatened or actual loss of scholarships

Financial impact

  • Threatened or actual loss of income and/or benefits
  • Threatened or actual loss of promotions or merit increases
  • Threatened or actual loss of research opportunities
  • Threatened or actual loss of recommendations
  • Decrease in future academic or job opportunities (resulting from the above)
  • Decrease in academic standing or professional reputation