Sexualized Violence

The University’s Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response policy identifies sexualized violence as: any non-consensual, unwanted actual, attempted, or threatened act or behaviour that is carried out through sexual means or by targeting a person’s sex, sexual identity, or gender identity or expression. This definition includes, but is not limited to:

(a) sexual assault;
(b) sexual exploitation;
(c) sexual harassment;
(d) stalking;
(e) indecent exposure;
(f) voyeurism;
(g) the distribution of a sexually explicit photograph or video of a person to one or more persons other than the person in the photograph or video without the consent of the person in the photograph or video.

Sexualized violence can occur through any means of communication including physically, verbally, visually, written, online and through social media.

How can Campus Security help?

In the case of an emergency call 911.

Campus Security officers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are available to respond to health and safety concerns in relation to sexualized violence. We can connect survivors and those impacted by sexualized violence to resources on and/off campus, and help create personal safety plans. This includes:

The SafeWalk program is available to members of the University Community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The escort service is provided from building to building, building to vehicle, and vice versa within the boundaries of the campus, including the Ian Stewart Complex. If you want to access SafeWalk, call: 250-721-7599

The Campus Alone program is a UVic program initiated and provided by Campus Security Services and is available to all members of the campus community who work or study on campus during the quiet hours of evenings, weekends, holidays, etc. Individuals concerned for their personal safety while working/studying alone at night may telephone Campus Security Services at: 250-721-6683

The sexualized violence resource office in EQHR:

If you have experienced sexualized violence and there is no immediate health and/or safety concerns, you should contact the sexualized violence resource office in EQHR. They serve as the main point of contact for students, staff, faculty and librarians impacted by sexualized violence. It is located in the Sedgwick Building, C119. All UVic community members should feel welcome to make a disclosure directly to the office or contact them for information about the Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Policy and on- and off-campus support services. They are also the place where formal reports of sexualized violence are made. Campus Security can connect you with the office.

Support and resources on and off-campus for survivors and those impacted by sexualized violence

Sexualized Violence Resource Office: 250 721 8786
Victoria Sexual Assault Centre and Sexual Assault Clinic: 250-383-3232
Anti-Violence Project: 250-472-4388
Counselling Services: 250-721-8341

Supporting someone who discloses an experience of Sexualized Violence

A disclosure is the process of someone sharing their story of sexualized violence with you. Anyone on campus can receive a disclosure. How you respond can have a significant impact on how a person feels about what happened to them, and what they should do next. Receiving a disclosure is an opportunity to validate a survivor and help them access the support they need to move forward in their journey of recovering from the trauma.

Here are some helpful tips on how to respond to a disclosure:

Listen non-judgmentally and empathetically: create a space where people feel safe to talk about what happened to them. It is best to withhold your own feelings of shock and disbelief, and it is best to avoid asking any questions about the incident, regardless of how curious you may feel. Questions, even well-meaning ones, can feel judgmental and critical. Remember that regardless of the context in which the event occurred, it is never the survivor’s fault.

Believe and validate: take the disclosure seriously. Believe people and validate their feelings. It is a tremendous risk for anyone to disclose sexualized violence because of the shame and judgment that can occur.

Offer support: and follow up by providing practical assistance accessing that support. This may include reviewing the list of available on- and off- campus supports listed on the EQHR website or referring them to the Sexualized Violence Resource Office.

Provide options: sexualized violence can be experienced as a tremendous loss of power and control. It is important to give people options that allow them to make choices about when and to whom they disclose.

Understand the importance and limitations of providing confidentiality: Maintaining confidentiality is important for creating an environment where people feel safe disclosing. However, there are times when people have an obligation under the Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response policy to share information. Please review the policy here [insert link] or contact the sexualized violence resource information in EQHR for advice. Best practice is to let people know there may be limits to their confidentiality and allow them to make choices about how much information they share.

There is no typical response: understand that people can exhibit a range of emotions from calm detachment to intense feelings of anger, shame, and embarrassment and/or grief in response to trauma. There is no right way to act or behave.

Respect personal boundaries: following a disclosure be especially careful about respecting people’s personal boundaries. Instead of offering comfort by touching the survivor, offer a comfortable place to sit and talk.