Sexual violence  means any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent. It includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, non-consensual condom removing (stealthing), and sexual exploitation. For further clarity, sexual assault includes rape.

Sexual assault is non-consensual sexual contact or activity, including the threat if such activity, done by one person or a group of persons to another. Sexual assault can range from unwanted sexual touching, kissing, or foundling to forced sexual intercourse. Sexual assault can involve the use of physical force, intimidation, coercion, or the abuse of a position of trust or authority.

Sexual harassment is a form of harassment (engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome) and consists of:

a)         sexual solicitation or unwanted sexual attention from a person who knows or ought reasonably to know that such attention is unwanted;

b)         an implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request;

c)         an implied or expressed threat of reprisal or actual reprisal for refusing to comply with a sexually oriented request;

d)         a sexual relationship that constitutes an abuse of power in a relationship of authority; or

e)         a sexually oriented comment or behaviour that may reasonably be perceived to create a negative psychological and emotional environment for work or study

Behaviours that occur on more than one occasion and which collectively instill fear in the person or threaten the person's safety or mental health, or that of their family or friends. Stalking includes non-consensual communications (e.g, face to face, phone, electronic); threatening or obscene conduct or gestures; surveillance and pursuit; and sending unsolicited gifts.

The exposure of the private or intimate parts of the body in a lewd or sexual manner, in a public place when the perpetrator may be readily observed. Indecent exposure includes exhibitionism.

The surreptitious observing of a person without their consent and in circumstances where they could reasonably expect privacy. voyeurism may include direct observation, observation by mechanical or electronic means or visual recordings.

Taking advantage of another person through non-consensual or abusive sexual control. This may include the digital or electronic broadcasting, distributing, recording and or photographing of people involved in sexual acts without their consent.

Rape culture is a culture in which dominant ideas, social practices, media images and societal institutions implicitly or explicitly condone sexual assault by normalizing or trivializing male sexual violence and by blaming survivors for their own abuse.

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Human Rights Office

1 Stewart St.
(Main Floor – Room 121)
Ottawa, ON, Canada
K1N 6N5

Tel.: 613-562-5222
Email: [email protected]

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