Resources on Sexual Violence

The educational resources on this page are intended to provide information to prevent Sexual Violence and support anybody in the Providence community who has suffered sexual violence.

Click here to see Sexual Violence Information for Students (PDF)




Key Definitions

Sexual Violence

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, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation” (as defined in The sexual violence Awareness and Prevention Act section 2.2(1), Bill 15, 1st Session, 41st Legislature of the Province of Manitoba). In the case of this policy, sexual violence includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, cyber harassment, indecent exposure, sexual exploitation, stalking, and voyeurism. All terms are defined below.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is defined as an assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. It is a criminal offense under section 271 of Canada’s Criminal Code. It is defined as sexual activity or touching by any object or body part of another person without consent or by force. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, or that is carried out in circumstances in which the person has not fully agreed, consented to, or is capable of consenting to.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that includes unwelcome comments or unwelcome conduct involving sexual advances or other comments or conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct might reasonably be known to be unwelcome or to cause insecurity, discomfort, offense, or humiliation to another person or group, and/or which detrimentally affects the learning environment or otherwise leads to adverse consequences for the person who is the target of the harassment. This includes harassment on the basis of sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation that has the effect of creating a poisoned environment (demeaning, humiliating, intimidating, hostile). Such conduct may be considered sexual harassment if one’s status or treatment as a student, staff, or faculty member is dependent upon submission to such conduct. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone regardless of their gender or sexual orientation and can be committed by a person of any gender or sexual orientation.

Examples of conduct that constitutes sexual harassment include:

  • Displays of pornographic or other sexual materials in the form of degrading pictures, graffiti, cartoons, or sayings, including through social media and/or the internet
  • Unwanted sexual attention, sexually oriented remarks or behaviours, sexually suggestive or obscene gestures
  • Derogatory or degrading remarks or jokes about or directed towards another person or group for any reason, including sexual orientation, gender, or gender expression
  • Repeated or persistent unwelcome flirtations, advances, or propositions, including “leering” or unwanted staring
  • Unwanted physical contact
  • Revealing or threatening to reveal a person’s sexual orientation without their consent
  • Making comments, circulating information, or spreading rumours about another person, including about their sexual orientation, gender, or gender expression, including through social media and/or the internet
  • Sexual advances with actual or implied work or education-related consequences
  • Retaliation or threat of retaliation against an individual for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance may also constitute sexual harassment.

The person(s) engaged in harassment need not have the intention to harass; it is the objective assessment of the circumstances that matters.


The informed, knowing, voluntary, and active agreement to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity. It is the act of willingly agreeing to engage in specific sexual behaviour (including kissing and intimate physical contact), and requires that a person is able to freely be able to choose not to engage in it. This means there must be an understandable exchange of affirmative words which indicates a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. It is imperative that everyone understands the following:

  • Silence or non-communication can never be interpreted as consent.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious, otherwise unable to communicate, or if they are in a state of diminished judgement (incapacitated).
  • A person who has been threatened or coerced (i.e. they are not agreeing voluntarily) into engaging in the sexual activity is not consenting to it.
  • A person who is drugged is unable to consent.
  • A person in a diminished state of judgement cannot consent. Verbal agreement from a person in a state of diminished judgement is NOT consent.
  • A person is unable to give consent when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability preventing them from fully understanding sexual acts.
  • The fact that consent was given in the past to a sexual, dating, or marriage relationship does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity.
  • A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent to a person in a position of trust, power, or authority over them, such as a faculty member initiating a relationship with a student who they teach, an administrator in a relationship with anyone who reports to that position, or a coach in relationship with a student team member.
  • It is not possible for minors to consent under most circumstances, and they are never able to consent within a relationship of dependence, authority, or exploitation. See section 150 of the Criminal Code of Canada for details.
  • Consent cannot be given on behalf of another person.

It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to ensure clear and affirmative responses are communicated at all stages of sexual engagement. It is also the initiator’s responsibility to know if the person they are engaging with sexually is of the age of consent for sexual activity. Consent cannot be obtained by use of force, which includes coercion.