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Lecture 10

WGST 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Slut, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Sexual Penetration

Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
Leslie Nichols

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Date: November 25
Lecture Title:
Sexual Harassment
Gender Harassment
R.v. Ewanchuk
Three Levels of Sexual Harassment
Victim Blaming
1. Nearly 50% of Canadian women have experienced sexual violence.
2. Sexism, racism, hierarchy, and poverty: all are systems/contexts which have allowed
particular forms of violence against women to go unnoticed, under reported, or are why violence
is legitimated.
3. Rape culture is one reason that sexual assault is so frequent; images, language, and
attitudes which validate and perpetuate sexual assault.
What is Sexual Harassment?
1. “Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought to be known
to be unwelcome.”- Ontario Human Rights Commission
2. Does not have to be repeated for a comment/act to be considered harassment; one incident
may be enough.
3. The reference to comment or conduct "that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be
unwelcome" means that there are two parts to the test for harassment.
4. Sexual harassment includes gender based harassment.
1. Sexual solicitation and advances.
2. A poisoned environment
3. Gender based harassment
4. Violence
What is Gender Based Harassment?
1. Gender-based harassment is “any behaviour that policies and reinforces traditional
heterosexual gender norms”
2. Used to get people to follow sex stereotypes. Can be used inter (between genders) and intra
(amongst genders)
3.A fomr of violence (bullying)
4. Gender-based harassment is not generally motivated by sexual intent.
5. Based on hostility and creating an unwelcoming environment.
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Examples of Gender and Sexual Harassment:
1. Asking/demanding a hug.
2. Rough and vulgar humour or language related to gender.
3. Bragging about sexual prowess or asking about someone’s sexual activity.
4. Showing/sending pornography.
Prevalence and Social Vulnerability
1. Girls are at greatest risk of sexual assault by a family member while between 12-15 years of
2. According to the Women’s Safety Project, 43 percent of women reported at least one incident
of unwanted sexual touching, forced or attempted forced sexual intercourse, or someone forcing
them to perform other acts of a sexual nature before the age of 16.
3. The Women’s Safety Project reports that 51 percent of women have been the victim of an
assault or attempted assault.
4. Of these assaults or attempted, men known to the women perpetrated 81 percent of the
5. 19% of cases involve strangers.
6. Women are the vast majority of victims of male-perpetrated sexual violence making rape,
“indigenous” and not exceptional to half of Canadian women’s lives (MacKinnon, 1989).
1. A person is incapable of giving consent if she/he is asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable
to communicate.
2. No one who has been threatened or coerced or drugged can give consent.
3. A person is usually unable to give consent when she/he is under the influence of alcohol
and/or drugs, or has a mental disability.
4. A current or prior sexual or dating relationship does not constitutes consent.
5. A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter.
6. Pursuing sexual contact in any form whatsoever with an unwilling or nonconsenting partner is
sexual assault.
R v. . Ewanchuk 1999: Landmark case for sexual consent
man in a mall looking to hire an assistant
Ewanchuk gave applications to a young woman (17 year old)
She went for an interview with him- he acted inappropriately and eventually he sexually
attacked her
Supreme Court: ruled that no means no, yes means yes.
Only Yes Means Yes
1. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada declared that a person's "no" means
"no." Only “yes” means “yes”.
2. The Supreme Court: no one has the right to sexually touch another unless that person
communicates consent clearly.
3.Consent must be positively established:
4. This is an absolute statement: there is no such thing as implied consent to sexual assault.
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