UCalgary campus

At the University of Calgary, we believe you and we’re ready to support you

What is sexual and gender-based violence?

You may have an idea of what sexual and gender-based violence looks like, but the truth is it can take on many different forms. The Government of Alberta defines sexual violence as, “An act committed against someone's sexual integrity without that person’s freely given consent.” This type of violence can take many forms including - but not limited to - sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual exploitation. According to Women and Gender Equality Canada, gender-based violence is committed against a person due to their gender, gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender; it is not limited to physical assault and can include jokes that demean the LGBTQ2S+ community. Both sexual and gender-based violence are against the law and are considered violations of basic human rights and bodily autonomy.

While people of all ages, races, and genders can experience sexual and gender-based violence, there are certain populations who are more vulnerable due to deeply rooted systemic oppression. Discrimination such as racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism can cause these populations to face higher levels of violence.

Sexual and gender-based violence is a public health issue that has far-reaching impacts and causes significant trauma. Not only does it affect the physical, mental, sexual and emotional health of the individuals who directly experience the violence, but it can also have long-lasting and negative health, social and economic effects that span generations, impacting families and sometimes entire communities.

Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. They should not be discriminated against based on gender identity or expression, age, race or ethnicity, ability, or any other identity factor.

I believe you

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Support Team

Supporting our community

If you have been affected by sexual and gender-based violence, we believe you and we are here for you. The university’s Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Support Office can connect you with services, inform you of your rights, help you think through options, or simply listen. 

If someone has disclosed to you that they have experienced sexual and gender-based violence, the Office can offer education, coach you through ways to respond and support, and connect you with resources.

The University of Calgary’s policy on sexual and gender-based violence

In June of 2017, the University of Calgary implemented a stand-alone policy regarding sexual and gender-based violence. It was updated in March 2021. 

The aims of the policy are to:

  1. Affirm the university’s commitment to addressing sexual and gender-based violence
  2. Commit to providing supports to individuals affected by sexual and gender-based violence, fostering and promoting a culture of consent, and appropriate handling of disclosures and formal reports related to sexual and gender-based violence
  3. Outline the processes by which the university will respond to disclosures and formal reports


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