Resources

There are many resources available on campus, in the London community, and online that can share helpful information, provide support, offer help with exploring options, or provide a listening ear. No matter what, there is help available for survivors and supporter/helpers.

 

Policy & Protocol
Key Definitions
Roles & Responsibilities
Myths & Misconceptions
Stats & Facts

Policy & Protocol

Brescia’s Sexual Violence Policy is to make clear our commitment to addressing sexual violence in our community through survivor support, awareness, education, training and prevention, and the response protocols to be followed in the case of a disclosure, report, or complaint from any member of our community.


Key Definitions

Sexual Violence:  Any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression. This includes, but is not limited to sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, 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.

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 offence under section 271 of Canada’s Criminal Code. The act of 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. 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, threatened, or that is carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to, or is incapable of consenting to.

Sexual Harassment: Engaging in a course of vexatious comments or conduct against another person, or in some cases, a single comment or act, on the basis of sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation that is known or ought reasonably to be known as unwelcome. This includes harassment on the basis of sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation that has the effect of creating a poisoned environment (demeaning, intimidating, hostile). Usually present is a pattern of repeated behaviours such as offensive jokes, comments, display of inappropriate materials or stereotyping. Sexual harassment may also have a quid pro quo element (meaning “this for that”), and thus, there may be promises of rewards for complying with sexual solicitations or implied threats or actual effects from not complying with sexual demands. Often present in quid pro quo situations is a power imbalance between the parties involved.

Examples of conduct that constitutes Sexual Harassment include but are not limited to:

  • Sexually suggestive or obscene gestures
  • Displays of derogatory or offensive sexual material
  • Sexually degrading words used to describe another person
  • Derogatory or degrading remarks about or directed towards another person for any reason, including because of being a member of one sex, one sexual orientation, one expression or identity of gender
  • Sexist, racist, or other jokes that cause or are intended to cause embarrassment
  • Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions
  • Unwanted physical contact
  • “Outing” or threatening to “out” someone
  • Jokes, cartoons, or remarks about a person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression
  • Making comments, circulating information or spreading rumours about another person, including about his or her gender, identity or expression, sex, or sexual orientation, including through social media and/or the Internet.

Consent: Under section 273.1 of the Criminal Code, consent is the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. Conduct short of a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity does not constitute consent as a matter of law. This means that an individual must actively and willingly give consent to sexual activity. Consent must be informed, freely given, and active. Youths 16 and 17 years old may legally consent to sexual acts but not within a relationship of trust, authority, dependency or where there is other exploitation.

Further, regarding consent, it is imperative to understand that:

  • Silence or non-communication must never be interpreted as cons
  • A person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consen
  • A person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate.
  • A person who has been threatened, pressured, forced, or coerced (i.e., is not agreeing voluntarily) is not consenting to any sexual act(s).
  • A person who is drugged is unable to cons
  • A person may be unable to give consent when under the influence of alcohol and/or drug
  • A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability preventing them from fully understanding the sexual act(s).
  • Consenting to sexual activity in the past or present does not mean consent is given to other sexual activity in the fu
  • A person can withdraw consent at any tim
  • A person cannot give consent to a person in a position of trust, power, or authority over them.
  • Consent cannot be given on behalf of another person.
  • Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault.

Survivor: A person who has experienced an act or threat of Sexual Violence. Survivor is a positive term recognizing the strength needed to live with an experience of Sexual Violence. It is the prerogative of the person who has experienced Sexual Violence to determine how they wish to identify.

Other Relevant Terms

Acquaintance sexual assault: Sexual contact that is forced, manipulated, or coerced by a partner, friend or acquaintance.

Coercion: The use of emotional manipulation, blackmail, threats to family or friends, or the promise of rewards or special treatment, to persuade someone to do something they do not wish to do, such as being sexual or performing particular sexual acts. In the context of Sexual Violence, coercion is unreasonable and persistent pressure for sexual activity.

Confidentiality: Confidentiality is particularly important to those who have disclosed Sexual Violence. If an individual seeks support of any kind, all Brescia staff and/or faculty will protect the confidentiality of all those involved, unless otherwise required by law. When Sexual Violence is disclosed, the confidentiality of all parties must be protected. However, confidentiality cannot be assured in the following circumstances:

  • Where an individual is at imminent risk of self-harm or harming another;
  • Where there are reasonable grounds to believe that others in the Brescia community may be at risk of harm;
  • When promoting fairness of process for all parties involved (e.g., when a report is received by Brescia, the investigation process may necessitate making the identity of the complainant known to the respondent);
  • When notification and/or action (including conducting an investigation) is required by law, by Brescia’s policies, or by an external body with appropriate authority (e.g., when an allegation of Sexual Violence is made against a Brescia employee).

By law, Brescia must report if someone is at risk of harm to themselves or others. In such circumstances, privacy will be maintained to the greatest degree possible and information would be shared only with the necessary parties to the extent necessary to prevent harm. The names of the Survivor and person(s) accused would not be publicly shared.

In some cases Brescia may be required to take action independent of the intentions of the parties. If this is necessary, affected individuals will be fully informed and may choose to be supported at every step of the process.

Confidential Resource: Privileged and confidential resources such as Physicians, Licensed medical professionals (i.e., nurses, counsellors, social workers, psychologists), Priest Chaplain will not report an incident of Sexual Violence without a Survivor’s permission, except for extreme circumstances, such as a health and/or safety emergency to self or others.

 Cyber Harassment: Cyber harassment takes many online forms, but typically involves the use of email, texting, instant messaging, derogatory websites, graphic images or posts to bully or otherwise harass an individual or group through personal attacks causing substantial emotional distress and/or the fear of bodily harm. Cyber harassment can include, but is not limited to: ‘flaming’, sending offensive or cruel email, or harassing others by posting comments in chat rooms, blogs, or social networking sites.

 Disclosure: The provision of information by a Survivor of, or witness to, an experience of sexual violence.

 Drug-facilitated sexual assault: Occurs when alcohol and/or drugs are used to control, overpower, or subdue a target for the purposes of sexual assault. Many substances could be connected with drug-facilitated sexual assault, such as: alcohol, over-the-counter legal drugs, prescription drugs and illegal drugs such as Rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyric, or ketamine (generally referred to as “date rape drugs”).

Non-Confidential Resource: A support person with whom a Survivor wishes to disclose and who, according to legislative regulations, must report the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident in a disclosure. At minimum, they must report general information without personal identifiers, unless the Survivor consents otherwise. At Brescia, Non-Confidential Resources include all employees (i.e., faculty or staff) who are not a Confidential Resource.

Stalking: A form of criminal harassment prohibited by the Criminal Code. Generally it consists of repeated conduct that is carried out over a period of time and which causes someone to reasonably fear for their safety or the safety of someone else with or without physical injury. Stalking can also include threats of harm to friends and/or family. Stalking behaviours include, but are not limited to, non-consensual communications (face to face, phone, email, social media); threatening or obscene gestures; surveillance; sending unsolicited gifts; “creeping” via social media/cyber-stalking; and uttering threats.

Roles & Responsibilities

Common Responsibilities

Model positive behaviors and attitudes by:

  • Demonstrating respectful behaviors in personal relationships
  • Valuing diversity
  • Resolving conflicts in constructive and non-violent ways
  • Challenge the myths surrounding Sexual Violence and harassment (see Appendix B)
  • Be a bystander and speak up:
    • Come to the defense of a Survivor if you witness Sexual Violence or harassment, and offer support
    • Call a proper authority if you witness sexual assault
    • Tell a proper authority if you see anyone adding something suspicious to another person’s drink
    • Check in with your friends and any vulnerable individuals to see that they get home safely Say “no” if anyone tries to share private texts or snapchats they’ve received
    • Speak out against negative attitudes and intervene when comments are made that promote Sexual Violence and discrimination
    • SEE OR KNOW SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING
  • Create an atmosphere where individuals feel comfortable disclosing and seeking help
  • Have open discussions with peers about the issue of Sexual Violence on campus
  • Respond in a sympathetic, non-judgmental and supportive way when an act of Sexual Violence is disclosed by a Survivor and/or by a person(s) accused
  • Be a supportive listener when Survivors wish to discuss their experiences Respect Survivors’ privacy and how much information they choose to disclose
  • Promote confidentiality of the Survivor and the person(s) accused, and discourage rumors
  • Be aware of response protocol and how to contact resources/supports or make referrals to them Willingly participate in investigations
  • Participate in training and public education initiatives on Sexual Violence issues

Unique Responsibilities

Principal, Dean, Associate Deans, Vice Principals & Directors

  • Play a leadership role in raising prevention, awareness, and education about Sexual Violence
  • Endorse a formal Sexual Violence policy and its response protocol
  • Allocate resources for training campus members on the policy and response protocol
  • Make provisions and employment considerations/workplace accommodations for employees (staff and faculty) who are affected by Sexual Violence issues in their workplace

Vice Principal, Students & Director, Human Resources

  • Responsible for convening an investigation committee
  • Responsible for conducting an investigation
  • Overseeing the effectiveness of the policy & protocol
  • Proposing changes to respond to and ensure effectiveness
  • Vice Principal, Students: oversight for the operation of the Code of Student Conduct
  • Director, Human Resources: oversight for the operation of the Workplace Violence Policy & Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Faculty Members

  • Provide Survivors with appropriate academic considerations, such as extensions on assignments, re-weighting assignments or tests, or supporting a request to drop a class or continue studies from home
  • Make students aware of opportunities to attend campus initiatives relating to Sexual Violence
  • Participate in training on the policy and response protocol
  • Participate in ongoing campus prevention, education, and awareness initiatives about Sexual Violence issues
  • Information regarding disclosures and/or reports/complaints should be shared in-person with Academic Dean or Director, Human Resources, respecting privacy of the Survivor and person(s) accused
  • Follow the Workplace Violence Policy & Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Academic Support Staff

  • Assist with academic accommodations, petitions (e.g., requests for waiving an academic regulation, degree requirement or academic deadline with a student who has experienced a hardship or disadvantage), dropping courses, adjusting course schedules where appropriate and other academic needs of the Survivor
  • Make students aware of opportunities to attend campus initiatives relating to Sexual Violence
  • Participate in training on the policy and response protocol
  • Participate in ongoing campus prevention, education, and awareness initiatives about Sexual Violence issues
  • Information regarding disclosures and/or reports/complaints should be shared in-person with Manager; or Vice Principal, Students; or Director, Human Resources, respecting privacy of the Survivor and person(s) accused
  • Follow the Workplace Violence Policy & Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Residence Life

  • Organize a change in living arrangements, when necessary
  • Encourage students living in residence to organize and participate in Sexual Violence awareness activities
  • Be aware of any changes in behaviour by individual students
  • Participate in training on the policy and response protocol
  • Participate in ongoing campus prevention, education, and awareness initiatives about Sexual Violence issues
  • Information regarding disclosures and/or reports/complaints should be shared in-person with Manager; or Vice Principal, Students; or Director, Human Resources, respecting privacy of the Survivor and person(s) accused
  • Follow the Workplace Violence Policy & Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Campus Police

  • Issue a campus safety alert when it is determined that the campus may be at risk
  • Offer the individual the opportunity to be interviewed by police of the same gender, if the individual chooses
  • Assists with investigations
  • Collaborates with London Police
  • Follow best practices in creating campuses that are physically safe; implements measures to reduce sexual violence on campus
  • Assess the physical safety of campus through regular safety audits
  • Engage the campus community in periodic reviews of safety procedures, where appropriate

Western’s Sexual Violence Education & Prevention Coordinator

  • Helps Survivor navigate their options
  • Source of referral to Campus Police or London Police for reporting; or referral to on-campus health and/or off-campus community supports

Western (on-campus) Health Supports

  • Psychological and emotional support
  • Assistance with safety planning
  • Referrals to other services, including medical services
  • Physicians, licensed medical professionals (e.g., nurses, counsellors, psychologists), who are practicing in that capacity, are a confidential resource. They will not report an incident of sexual violence without a Survivor’s permission, except for extreme circumstances, such as a health and/or safety emergency

Business Office

  • Provides access to emergency financial assistance for students in need
  • Participate in training on the policy and response protocol
  • Participate in ongoing campus prevention, education, and awareness initiatives about Sexual Violence issues
  • Information regarding disclosures and/or reports/complaints should be shared in-person with Manager; or Vice Principal, Students; or Director, Human Resources, respecting privacy of Survivor and person(s) accused
  • Follow the Workplace Violence Policy & Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Priest Chaplain

  • Provides social, emotional and spiritual support, available for all students, staff and faculty
  • Serves as a confidential resource who will not report an incident of sexual violence without a Survivor’s permission, except for extreme circumstances, such as a health and/or safety emergency

Student Associations & Student Groups

  • Engage in educational initiatives to promote better understanding of sexual violence and the institution’s policies and protocols
  • Provide feedback on institutional policies, resources, and protocols
  • Participate in training on the policy and response protocol
  • Participate in ongoing campus prevention, education, and awareness initiatives about Sexual Violence issues

Staff

  • Make students aware of opportunities to attend campus initiatives relating to sexual violence
  • Participate in training on the policy and response protocol
  • Participate in ongoing campus prevention, education, and awareness campus initiatives about sexual violence
  • Information regarding disclosures and/or reports/complaints should be shared in-person with Manager; or Vice Principal, Students; or Director, Human Resources, respecting privacy of Survivor and person(s) accused
  • Follow the Workplace Violence Policy & Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Students

  • Participate in ongoing campus sexual violence prevention, education, and awareness initiatives
  • Participate in training on the policy and response protocol
  • Follow the Code of Student Conduct
  • Provide feedback on institutional policies, resources, and protocols

Myths & Misconceptions

Myth: Sexual assault can’t happen to me or anyone I know.
Fact: Sexual assault can and does happen to anyone. People of all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are victims of sexual assault. Young women, Aboriginal women and women with disabilities are at greater risk of experiencing sexual assault.

Myth: Sexual assault is most often committed by strangers.
Fact: Someone known to the victim, including acquaintances, dating partners, and common-law or married partners, commit approximately 82 per cent of sexual assaults.16

Myth: Sexual assault is most likely to happen outside in dark, dangerous places.
Fact: The majority of sexual assaults happen in private spaces like a residence or private home.

Myth: If a woman doesn’t report to the police, it wasn’t sexual assault.
Fact: Just because a victim doesn’t report the assault doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Fewer than one in ten victims report the crime to the police.17

Myth: It’s not a big deal to have sex with a woman while she is drunk, stoned or passed out.
Fact: 
If a woman is unconscious or incapable of consenting due to the use of alcohol or drugs, she cannot legally give consent. Without consent, it is sexual assault.

Myth: If a woman didn’t scream or fight back, it probably wasn’t sexual assault.
Fact: 
When a woman is sexually assaulted she may become paralyzed with fear and be unable to fight back. She may be fearful that if she struggles, the perpetrator will become more violent. If she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, she may be incapacitated or unable to resist.

Myth: If a woman isn’t crying or visibly upset, it probably wasn’t a serious sexual assault.
Fact: 
Every woman responds to the trauma of sexual assault differently. She may cry or she may be calm. She may be silent or very angry. Her behaviour is not an indicator of her experience. It is important not to judge a woman by how she responds to the assault.

Myth: If a woman does not have obvious physical injuries, like cuts or bruises, she probably was not sexually assaulted.
Fact: 
Lack of physical injury does not mean that a woman wasn’t sexually assaulted. An offender may use threats, weapons, or other coercive actions that do not leave physical marks. She may have been unconscious or been otherwise incapacitated.

Myth: If it really happened, the woman would be able to easily recount all the facts in the proper order.
Fact: 
Shock, fear, embarrassment and distress can all impair memory. Many survivors attempt to minimize or forget the details of the assault as a way of coping with trauma. Memory loss is common when alcohol and/or drugs are involved.

Myth: Women lie and make up stories about being sexually assaulted.
Fact: 
The number of false reports for sexual assault is very low, consistent with the number of false reports for other crimes in Canada. Sexual assault carries such a stigma that many women prefer not to report.

Myth: It wasn’t rape, so it wasn’t sexual violence.
Fact: 
Any unwanted sexual contact is considered to be sexual violence. A survivor can be severely affected by all forms of sexual violence, including unwanted fondling, rubbing, kissing, or other sexual acts. Many forms of sexual violence involve no physical contact, such as stalking or distributing intimate visual recordings. All of these acts are serious and can be damaging.

Myth: Women with disabilities don’t get sexually assaulted.
Fact: 
Women with disabilities are at a high risk of experiencing sexual violence or assault. Those who live with activity limitations are over two times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than those who are able-bodied.18

Myth: Husbands cannot sexually assault their wives.
Fact: 
Sexual assault can occur in a married or other intimate partner relationship.

Stats & Facts

  • Sexual assault is about power and control, not sexual desire.
  • 1 in 5 female undergraduates will be sexually assaulted in college. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics Research and Development Series)
  • Over half of sexual assaults of postsecondary students involve drugs or alcohol.
  • 1 in 3 Canadian women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. (Source: Ontario.ca)
  • The rates of sexual violence are 42% higher for women aged 15-24, than for women who are aged 25-34. (Source: Statistics Canada)
  • Sexual violence doesn’t only affect women. 1 in 6 men will experience it in their lifetime, and most of these will occur in childhood. (Source: Ontario.ca)
  • 93% of police-reported sexual assault survivors are female. (Source: Statistics Canada)
  • Of every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 33 are ever reported to police. Of these 33 reported cases, 12 result in charges being laid, 6 are prosecuted and 3 lead to a conviction.
  • Even though sexual violence often goes unreported, there are 460,000 reports of sexual assault in Canada each year.
  • Sexual violence is an intersectional crime, crossing gender, race, ability.
  • Women from marginalized populations experience higher rates of sexual violence. (Source: Statistics Canada)
  • 57% of Indigenous women have been sexually assaulted. (Source: Ontario Native Women‘s Association)
  • 83% of women living with a developmental disability have been sexually assaulted. (Source: Johnson and Sigler, 2000)
  • 1 in 5 Trans people will experience sexual violence. (Source: Ontario.ca)
  • 28% of Canadians have experienced sexual harassment at work and 80% did not report it. (Source: Angus Reid, 2014)
  • 67% of Canadians know at least one woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse. (Source: Canadian Women’s Foundation).
  • In 82% of sexual assaults, the assault is committed by someone known to the victim. This can include, for example, a family member, a friend or an acquaintance.
  • 1 in 3 Canadians know what consent is.
  • These statistics and facts tell us that sexual violence is prevalent in our society and it is taking place on our campuses and communities.

*Some information from:
Ontario Women’s Directorate. (2013, January). Developing a response to sexual violence: A resource guide for Ontario colleges and universities. http://www.women.gov.on.ca/owd/english/ending-violence/campus_guide.shtml. (Collaboration with Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development)