Examples of Sexualized Violence

Sexualized violence (or sexual violence) is an umbrella term that describes any unwanted action through a sexual means, or by targeting one’s gender, sexuality or sexual or gender identity. Sexual violence is not about sexual desire but about power and privilege.

Sexualized violence includes, but is not limited to:

Sexual Assault
Sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault does not depend solely on contact with any specific part of the human anatomy but rather the act of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim.

Some examples:

  • Touching a part of someone’s body without their consent in a sexual nature
  • Touching someone in a sexual nature when they are unable to consent (ex. unconscious)

Sexual Abuse
Unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of people not able to give consent.

Some examples:

  • Sexual activity (touching or acts) with an individual who is underage
  • Sexual activity (touching or acts) with an individual who is unable to consent due to a power imbalance

Sexual Harassment
A form of sex discrimination based on gender; unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that negatively affects or interferes with the work/study environment or leads to adverse job/education-related consequences for the individual. Sexual harassment may be verbal, physical or by technological means, including but not limited to email, Internet postings, or text messaging.

Some examples:

  • Making unwelcome sexual comments or jokes to another individual
  • Asking for sex in exchange for a benefit or favor
  • Repeatedly asking for a date, and not taking ‘no’ for an answer
  • Using rude or insulting language towards someone based on their sex or sexuality
  • Making sex-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics or actions

Engaging in conduct that causes an individual to reasonably fear for their physical or psychological safety, or the safety of anyone known to them, such as repeatedly following or communicating through any means—including electronic—with someone, engaging in threatening conduct, or keeping watch over the place where the individual or anyone known to them happens to be.

Some examples:

  • showing up to your home or place of work unannounced or uninvited
  • sending unwanted text messages, letters, emails, voicemails
  • using social networking sites or technology to track someone
  • waiting for someone at places they hang out
  • using other people as a way to investigate your life (such as befriending your friends in order to learn more about you)

Indecent Exposure
Exposing one’s body to another individual for a sexual purpose or coercing another individual to remove their clothing in order to expose their body, without their consent.

Some examples:

  • someone exposing their genitals to someone without their consent
  • intimidating someone else to expose their genitals

Non-consensual viewing, photographing, or otherwise recording another individual in a location where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy and where the viewing, photographing or recording is done for a sexual purpose.

Some examples:

  • setting up a camera in secret to view someone undressing without their consent (ex. Their bedroom, a public washroom, a public changeroom)
  • filming or photographing someone during sexual activity without their consent

Using technological mediums to engage in unsolicited sexual harassment or stalking.

Some examples:

  • persistently asking for a date in a class discussion forum, and not taking 'no' for an answer
  • sending sexually explicit images to someone online, without consent 
  • sending unwanted texts, emails, or messages 
  • tracking someone's activities or whereabout through their social media or other technological means 

The act of removing a condom during sex without the consent of the partner.

Some examples:

  • taking a condom off during sexual activity without first actively informing their partner, and confirming their consent to unprotected sexual activity

Sexual Trafficking
The recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced sexual labour.

Sexual Exploitation
The sexual abuse of young or vulnerable individuals through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money.

Some examples:

  • forcing an individual into prostitution or pornography when consent cannot be given
  • forced marriage

Distribution of Sexually Explicit Images of a Person/Persons without Consent
Sharing sexualized pictures, photos, representations of a person without consent.

Some examples:

  • showing a friend a sexually explicit photo or video of their partner
  • posting of ‘revenge porn’ to online forums

Any Attempt or Threat to Commit an Act of Sexual Violence
Sexual violence or misconduct is any unwanted action carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the action is physical or psychological. Threats or attempts to commit acts of sexual violence still cause harm, and are recognized as a form of violence.