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Understanding Sexual Violence and Gender-Based Violence


What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment: is a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications of a sexually oriented nature and/or a course of unwanted remarks, actions that promote gender-based violence, or behaviours or communications based on gender – where the person responsible for the remarks, actions, behaviours or communications knows or ought reasonably to know that these are unwelcome. Sexual harassment may consist of unwanted attention of a sexually oriented nature such as personal questions about one’s sex life, persistent requests for a “date”, or unwelcome remarks about someone’s hair, body shape, etc. Sexual harassment may also consist of unwelcome remarks based on gender which are not of a sexual nature but which are demeaning such as derogatory gender based jokes or comments.

What Is Sexual Violence?

Sexual Violence: is a 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. This includes, but is not limited to sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, sexual exploitation, degrading sexual imagery, distribution of sexual images or video of a community member without their consent, and cyber harassment or cyber stalking of a sexual nature.




What is Gender-Based Violence?

Gender-based violence: the use and abuse of control over another person and is perpetrated against someone based on their gender expression, gender identity, or perceived gender. GBV— including violence against women and girls—can take many forms including but not limited to: stalking, early or forced marriage, emotional and psychological abuse, financial abuse, genital mutilation and/or cutting, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, neglect, physical abuse, sexual assault, reproductive coercion, threats of violence (including self-harm) in order to coerce sex, rape, sexualized violence, technology-facilitated violence, stealthing or non consensual condom removal.


Gender-based Violence Pyramid

This is a starting point, not an exhaustive list, to understand how gender-based violence manifests.

Top Level: Murder and/or Genocide 

Second Level: Rape, Sexual Assault, Physical, Emotional, Financial Abuse, Technology Facilitated Violence, Forced Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, Virginity Test, Spiritual Abuse, Child Abuse, Elder Abuse, Medical Abuse, Stalking

Third Level: Harassment, Threats, Verbal Abuse, Objectification, Isolation

Fourth Level: Traditional Gender Roles, Glass Ceiling, Stereotypes, Oppressive Policies, Stereotypes, Institutional Discrimination, State Violence

Bottom Level: Capitalism, White Supremacy, Colonization,Patriarchy,  Racism, Heterosexism, Ableism, Sizeism, Cissexism, Transmisogyny, Ageism, Classism, Anti-Black Racism, Patriarchy, Xenophobia



Learn About Sexual Violence and Gender-Based Violence

You can learn about gender-based violence by booking a workshop with Consent Comes First, taking one of the many free courses offered below or doing your own self-directed reading.

  1. Consent Comes First E-Learning e-learning modules for students, staff and faculty in D2L. Learn more on our E-Learning page
  2. The Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children (CREVAWC), Learn to End Abuse  (external link) portal has numerous free trainings.
  3. OCASI Learn at Work (external link)  portal has a number of courses on addressing gender-based violence in newcomer communities. 
  4. The Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses Violence Against Women Education Hub  (external link) has a number of trainings on addresses gender-based violence
  5. Courage to Act, Addressing and Preventing Gender-Based Violence on Post-Secondary Campuses education portal (external link)  has numerous trainings on addressing gender-based violence on campus.
  6. Break the Silence (external link) : As part of the Nova Scotia Sexual Violence Strategy, a Provincial Committee of dedicated and passionate community members have developed a free online training course to help you learn more about sexual violence and how to support someone who has survived it.