The following definitions are taking from Section 5 of Nipissing University's Sexual Violence Prevention, Support, and Response Policy for Students.
The following definitions are applicable in the interpretation of this Policy, as well as to the University Community in developing an understanding of the problem of sexual violence. They are separated into five categories: Nipissing University, Sexual Violence, Reporting Options, Student and Human Rights.
a) Nipissing University
Nipissing University Community: Also referred to as the University Community, means all students, employees, faculty, contractors, suppliers of services, volunteers, visitors, and any other third parties affiliated with the University related to initiatives, research, or other contractual agreements. Under this policy, any member of the University Community can be named as a Respondent in the reporting process. Only currently enrolled Nipissing University students can engage in the reporting process outlined in this policy, all other members of the University Community are to use the appropriate Human Resource Policy, as outlined in Section 3.3.
Complainant: Refers to a person who is making a formal complaint of sexual violence, to the University, under this Policy.
Respondent: Refers to the person, or persons, against whom a formal complaint has been filed with the University under this Policy.
b) Sexual Violence
Sexual Violence: Is 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, threated 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, degrading sexual imagery, stealthing, distribution of sexual images or video without consent and cyber harassment or cyberstalking of a sexual nature.
Sexual Assault: is any type of unwanted act committed in circumstances of a sexual nature, such that the sexual integrity of a person is violated. This can include any physical contact or behaviour that occurs without the explicit consent of the complainant. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that can include unwanted kissing, touching, fondling, oral or anal sex, intercourse, forms of penetration or any other unwanted contact of a sexual nature.
Sexual Harassment: A form of sexual violence that is described by the Ontario Human Rights Commission sexual harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against another person where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. This definition also includes making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome. Sexual harassment may include but is not limited to:
- Sexual solicitation and advances (for example, demanding hugs, invading personal space, unnecessary physical contact);
- Implied or expressed promise of reward after complying with a sexually oriented task;
- Implied or expressed threat of repercussions or consequences for refusing to comply with a sexually oriented task;
- A poisoned environment (for example, pornographic images in a public, social or work space or exposure to a learning or working environment involving periodic or frequent sexualized comments or conduct);
- Gender-based harassment (for example, targeting someone based on their gender or for not adhering to binary or stereotypical gender roles).
Intimate and Relationship Violence: Act(s) of violence or abusive behaviour in an intimate relationships, such as marriage, domestic partnership, causal or long term dating relationships, sexual relationships or former relationships. The act(s) or violence are used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another partner. Intimate and Relationship violence can include, but is not limited to: physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, psychological violence, spiritual violence, economic violence, and/or controlling of movements and social contacts.
Microaggressions: The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intention or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely on their marginalized group membership, such as gender or sexual orientation.
Consent: The active, direct, expressed, voluntary and conscious agreement between adults to engage in sexual activity. These elements of consent must be present, even if alcohol or drugs have been consumed. Furthermore, consent is not implied and cannot be assumed. The following points are important when understanding consent:
- Someone who is incapacitated in any way (i.e., due to use of drugs or alcohol, being asleep or unconscious, or a disability that prevents an individual from giving consent) cannot consent.
- Past consent does not imply future consent.
- Being in a relationship with an individual does not constitute consent.
- Silence or absence of resistance does not imply consent.
- Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another person.
- Consent cannot be assumed or implied.
- Consent is voluntary and can be withdrawn at any time.
- Consent cannot be obtained through coercion and threats.
- Consent cannot be obtained if the perpetrator abuses a position of trust, power, or authority.
Coercion: The use of emotional manipulation, blackmail, threats, harassment, threats to family or friends, or the promise of rewards or special treatment in order to persuade someone to do something that they do not wish to do. This includes but is not limited to being forced to watch a sexual act or perform sexual acts. Coercion can happen in personal and professional relationships.
Force: The use of force includes emotional coercion, psychological or physical force, or the use of manipulation to coerce a person into non-consensual sexual acts. This includes the use of threats to force a person to comply, such as threatening to hurt the person or their family, or loved ones (i.e. pets) through the use of other intimidation tactics.
Incapacitation: Is a state in which an individual lacks the ability to give consent. Sexual activity with a person who one knows to be, or based on circumstances should reasonably have been known to be, mentally or physically incapacitated (may it be by drugs or alcohol, sleep, unconsciousness or a blackout, or disability) constitutes sexual assault. The initiator of sexual activity must always err on the side of assuming an individual to be incapacitated, rather than risk committing sexual assault. Evidence of incapacitation may include:
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes
- The smell of alcohol on a person’s breath
- Uncharacteristic or unusual behaviour
- Being asleep or unconscious
Students who are disclosing or reporting an incident of sexual violence will not be subject to reprisals related to the consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of an incident of sexual violence.
Rape Culture: A culture in which dominant ideas, social practices, media images and societal institutions implicitly or explicitly condone sexual assault by normalizing or trivializing sexual violence and by blaming survivors for the abuse they have experienced.
c) Reporting Options
University Formal Report: The lodging of a complaint with the University for the purpose of initiating some form of investigation against another member of the University Community for allegedly perpetrating sexual violence. In order to file a formal report through this policy, both the Complainant and Respondent must be currently enrolled students.
Police Report: The lodging of a formal complaint to police officials against another person for perpetrating sexual violence. All members of the University Community can file a Police Report.
Disclosure: When a student discusses an experience of sexual violence to staff or faculty of the University. This is not the same as a formal report or complaint, as outlined below, which activates the formal complaint process described in sections 9 and 10 of the policy.
d) Student & Human Rights
Ableism: According to the Ontario human Rights Commission is “analogous to racism, sexism or ageism, [and] sees persons with disabilities as being less worthy of respect and consideration, less able to contribute and participate, or of less inherent value than others. Ableism may be conscious or unconscious, and may be embedded in institutions, systems or the broader culture of a society. It can limit the opportunities of persons with disabilities and reduce their inclusion in the life of their communities”
Homophobia or Heterosexism: according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission are: “terms used to describe prejudice relating to sexual orientation. They refer to the assumption that heterosexuality is superior and preferable, and is the only right, normal or moral expression of sexuality. Both may also be the basis for negative treatment of gay, lesbian or bisexual people based on sexual orientation. Although these terms are closely related and overlapping, they also can emphasize different aspects and expressions of prejudice, and can therefore be helpful in identifying and addressing different aspects of the discrimination and harassment experienced by lesbian, bisexual or gay people. “Homophobia” is often defined as the irrational aversion to, or fear or hatred of gay, lesbian or bisexual people and communities, or to behaviours stereotyped as “homosexual.” It is commonly used to signify a hostile psychological state in the context of overt discrimination, harassment or violence against gay, lesbian or bisexual people. “Heterosexism” refers to the assumption that everyone is heterosexual. This definition is often used in the context of discrimination against bisexual, lesbian and gay people that is less overt, and which may be unintentional and unrecognized by the person or organization responsible for the discrimination. It can also be useful in understanding and identifying some kinds of institutional or societal bias, although homophobia may also be at play.”
Racism: As described by the Ontario Human Rights Commission racism is the conscious or unconscious belief that one racialized group is inherently superior to others. Racism can be openly displayed in racial jokes, slurs or hate crimes.
Transphobia: According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, transphobia is “the aversion to, fear or hatred of trans people and communities. Like other prejudices, it is based on stereotypes that are used to justify discrimination, harassment and violence toward trans people”