Sexual violence can impact any worker regardless of sexuality, gender identity or gender expression.[i] However, most perpetrators of sexual violence are men and most survivors are women.[ii] A recent poll found that 43 per cent of women reported being sexually harassed at work, and that women were twice as likely as men to experience unwanted sexual contact while at work.[iii]
People who do not conform to male-female gender identities or who do not identify as heterosexual are also at greater risk. One study found that approximately 90 per cent of transgender and gender-variant employees reported experiencing workplace harassment or violence stemming from their gender identity and expression.[iv] Approximately 47 per cent of LGBTQ2+ workers have experienced workplace harassment or violence based on their sexual orientation.[v]
Women who are discriminated against because of race, Indigeneity, disability, class, immigration status and other marginalized identities may also experience higher rates of violence. For example, stereotypes about racialized women and Indigenous women can be used to justify violence against them.[vi] People from marginalized communities often work in precarious employment with little job security, low pay, and no benefits. These systemic forms of marginalization increase barriers to reporting, accessing support, and accountability measures.[vii]
[i] METRAC, Presentation to CUPE’s National Post-Secondary Task Force, 2018.
[ii] This paragraph is based on Overcoming Barriers and Enhancing Supportive Responses: The Research on Sexual Violence against Women, Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children, Western University, May 2012, p. 3.
[iii] Angus Reid Institute, Canadian Public Opinion Poll on Sexual Harassment at Work, 2014. Available at http://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/2014.12.05-Sexual-Harassment-at-work.pdf
[iv] Catalyst, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Workplace Issues, 2018. http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-workplace-issues
[vi] Cecilia Benoit et. al, Issue Brief: Sexual Violence against Women in Canada. Commissioned by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Senior Officials for the Status of Women, 2015. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/svawc-vcsfc/issue-brief-en.pdf