What is sexual violence and misconduct?

Sexual violence is an umbrella term that encompasses a broad range of behaviour. It means a sexual act or an act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent. Such behaviour may or may not involve physical contact. It includes but is not limited to: sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, and the distribution of sexually explicit photographs or videos of a person without their consent.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any form of sexual contact without voluntary consent. Sexual assault can include non-consensual fondling, touching or kissing and is not limited to non-consensual intercourse. Sexual assault is a crime in Canada. To find out more about Canadian law regarding sexual assault, click here.

What is sexual harassment?

Behaviour of a sexual nature by a person:

  • Who knows or ought reasonably to know that the behaviour is unwanted or unwelcome; and
  • Which interferes with another person's participation in a University-related activity; or
  • Leads to or implies job- or academically-related consequences for the person harassed.

What do we mean by Survivor?

Survivor is a term used by someone who identifies as someone who has experienced sexual violence or misconduct. The University recognizes that an individual may not wish to use the term Survivor and will therefore respect an individual’s preferred term such as ‘victim’ or other. Many people who experience sexual violence may choose not to label themselves, or their experience. Learn more about how to support a survivor here.

What is consent?

Consent means clear, ongoing and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activities. Consent is informed, freely given, and actively communicated as demonstrated by words or conduct objectively assessed.

For clarity, consent:
a. is a freely given “yes”;
b. cannot be given by someone who is asleep, or unconscious;
c. can never be obtained through threats, coercion or other pressure tactics;
d. can be revoked at any time, regardless of whether other sexual activities or agreements have taken place;
e. cannot be obtained if someone abuses a position of trust, power or authority over another person
f. cannot be assumed from previous consent to same or similar activities.
g. cannot be assumed if someone has a physical or mental disability. 

Want to learn more about consent and how to practice it? Click Here