Bystander Intervention — Do you know what to do to challenge harassment?


Harassment FAQ's

What is harassment?

Sexual harassment is not simple to define as a list of behaviours, but it can be anything that makes your customers or employees feel uncomfortable, most generally either verbal or physical sexual behaviour towards a person without consent.

Some examples: 

  • Unwanted whistling

  • Leering

  • Sexist, homophobic or transphobic slurs

  • Persistent requests for someone’s name, number or destination after they’ve said no

  • Sexual names, comments and demands

  • Following

  • Flashing

  • Public masturbation

  • Groping

  • Taking photos without consent

  • Sexual touching

While our training explores harassment in the context of sexual violence, it is critical to acknowledge that harassment is a form of power based violence, and people can be targeted for a variety of reasons, many of which intersect.“Power based personal violence is rooted in the assertion of power, control and/or intimidation with the intent to harm another (source)."  Harassment therefore can be rooted in ableism, racism, xenophobia, classism, homophobia, transphobia, slutshaming, body shaming islamophobia , or any variety of combinations.

Wow, that's awful. How often is it happening?

Too often.  43% of Canadian women have been harassed at work.  67% of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted.  And stories like this, this, this, and this are unfortunately all too common.  

  • 77% of stalking victims are women.

  • 21% of people between 18 and 34 incorrectly believe sending an explicit photo, text or email counts as consent.

  • 45% of perpetrators were identified as a casual acquaintance or friend. Statistics Canada 2011.

  • 25% of sexual assaults against women were committed by a stranger.

  • 1,397 sexual assaults occur in Canada every day.

  • Alcohol is the most common substance in Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault and that 1 in 5 sexual assaults are drug facilitated and that there are a variety of drugs, including alcohol, used by perpetrators to incapacitate their victims.

YeaH but, is it that bad in Vancouver? Do we really need something like GNO?

Incidents of non-penetration sexual assaults (i.e. a grope, grab or kiss) are on the rise in Vancouver. 

  • Most of the assaults are committed by strangers to the victim

  • The most vulnerable age groups are those in over-25 years and the 19-to-24 age group categories

  • Sexual assaults occur mainly during the late evening and early morning

  • Alcohol in some capacity, was involved in about 31 to 43% of sexual assaults incidents over the last three years.

FavE Sites, Friends & Resources:

Rave Ethics Zine


DIY Access Zine

Good Night Out International

Society for the Advocacy of Safer Spaces


Kira-Lynn Ferderber

A No-Nonsense Guide to Street Harassment

Dandelion Initiative

Hollaback! Know Your Rights Guide

Canadian Women Foundation's FAQs About Sexual Assault & Harassment

Street Harassment Intesectionality

6 Self-Care Tips For Sexual Assault Survivors

Queer Self Care

 Domestic Abuse, Sexual Violence and Substance Use

Recovery Village - Domestic Violence