What is sexual violence?

SFU's Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention, Education and Support Policy (GP 44) defines sexual violence as any sexual act or any 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.

Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to, the examples listed below. If you are unsure whether an act constitutes sexual violence or not, we invite you to connect with an SVSPO case manager. Our case managers can provide additional context and help you determine whether any of these terms are applicable to your situation.

Examples of sexual violence

  • Sexual assault: Touching someone in a physical way without their consent
  • Sexual harassment: Unwelcome comments or gestures of a sexual nature that detrimentally affect a person's working, learning or living environment or lead to adverse consequences for the person subjected to the harassment
  • Stalking: Repeatedly following or communicating with a person (in person or online) in such a way that they feel fearful or threatened
  • Voyeurism: Watching, photographing, or filming a person for a sexual purpose without their consent, in a location where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • Distribution of sexual explicit images without consent: Sharing sexually explicit images (photos or videos) of another person without their consent or sending another person sexually explicit images without their consent
  • Indecent exposure: Exposing one’s body to another person for a sexual purpose without the person’s consent
  • Stealthing: Removing a condom before or during sexual activity without consent

What is consent?

SFU's Sexual Violence Policy (GP 44) defines consent as the clear, ongoing, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activities. Consent is informed, freely given, and actively communicated, either through words or actions.

  • Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated. If a person is asleep, passed out, drunk, high, or incapacitated in any way, they can’t consent.
  • Consent can be revoked at any time, regardless of whether other sexual activities or agreements have taken place. It is totally okay for a person to say ‘yes’ initially and then change their mind. If they do change their mind, their sexual partner should stop and respect their decision. 
  • Consent cannot be assumed based on previous interactions. Consenting to one kind of sexual activity does not mean that consent is given for another sexual activity. If a person has agreed to a specific kind of sexual activity in the past, their sexual partner should still check in with them each time, even if they have been togther for a long time. 
  • Consent can never be obtained through threats, coercion, or other pressure tactics. If a person pressures or threatens someone or asks them over and over, they don’t have consent.

What is an Anonymous Disclosure?

An anonymous disclosure is sharing information about an incident(s) of sexual violence, without revealing your personal information. At the SVSPO an anonymous disclosure can be made regardless of when or where the incident(s) took place.