How long does the process take?

The length of the conduct process depends upon the time it takes for the Student Conduct Coordinator to meet with the individuals involved, collect the appropriate evidence and to establish a date for the Discipline Committee hearing. Discipline Committee hearings take place once a week during the academic year.

Can the student(s) involved be found not in violation?

Yes, if the Discipline Committees decides that the events under review more than likely did not occur than the student will be found ‘not responsible”.

For more information on the Preponderance of Evidence, See Page 6, #8 of the Community Code of Conduct

Is there an appeal process?

Yes, the appellant must forward a notice of appeal to the Chair of the Appeals Committee within 7 business days of receiving their letter of outcome. Appeals can be made regarding a finding, an outcome or both.

For more information on the Appeals Process, See Page 12, #15 of the Community Code of Conduct

Does StFX’s conduct process have anything to do with the Police?

The Student Life Department can assist and support students who wish to report to the police, however civil and criminal proceedings are separate from the university’s conduct process.

For more information on the Scope of the Community Code, See Page 4 and 5, #6 of the Community Code of Conduct

Can I bring a student advocate with me to meetings?

Yes, student advocates are available to support, advise you and speak on your behalf (if you want them to).
3 student advocates are appointed by the Student’s Union during the academic year.
The Student advocates office is located on the 3rd Floor Students' Union Building (SUB).

For more information on Student Advocates, See Page 13, #16 of the Community Code of Conduct or contact: su_advoc@stfx.ca

What demographic experiences the highest rates of sexual assault in Canada?

Women ages 18-24 experience the highest rates of sexual violence in Canada

What constitutes consent?

Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision by each participant to mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent is voluntary and must be given without coercion, force, threats or intimidation.
Consent is revocable. Consent to some form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent on one occasion is not consent to engage in sexual activity on another occasion. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual consent to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked any time. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must stop immediately.
Consent cannot be given when someone is incapacitated, unconscious, coming in and out of consciousness, or if that person's understanding of the act is affected by a physical or mental impairment

Are the majority of sexual assaults committed by strangers?
While there are certainly instances of sexual assault being perpetrated by strangers, the vast majority of sexual violence happens at the hands of someone the victim knows. It could be a friend, partner, or someone you work with. And the lines are often blurry and confusing, especially in a dating relationship.

What about the outfits that women wear? They’re asking for it...

No one asks to be raped. And just because you paid for dinner, you’re in a relationship, or you had sex last week doesn’t mean that you can assume anything. Rather than blame the victim, we might ask why someone would choose to violate someone else in that way. We all need to take responsibility for our choices and actions. Ask for consent, every step of the way.

If someone isn’t hysterical and crying, then have they really been sexually assaulted?

Victims of sexual violence can react in very different ways. Some people cry easily, are jumpy and fearful, have difficulty focusing or experience flashbacks, while others are numb and turn off emotionally. These are all normal responses that usually lessen over time but often not without some kind of professional support. And the absence of physical injuries doesn’t mean an assault didn’t take place. Sometimes violence consists of threats or the presence of weapons that don’t leave obvious marks instead emotional injury.

If someone doesn’t struggle, have they still been sexually assaulted?

Some victims of sexual assault do struggle or resist, but others are too afraid, have been coerced, intimidated or threatened, or realize that their size and strength makes resistance difficult. Others are in a dating relationship and may feel they owe their partner. The issue isn’t resistance, but rather consent - and ensuring that you get clear consent at every step.

Is it only women who experience sexual violence?

Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. There are pervasive myths that men can’t be sexually victimized, that male perpetrators are homosexual, that if men experience sexual arousal or erection from the encounter then they must have liked it, that men are less traumatized by sexual abuse than women, among others. These false beliefs are deeply harmful and often result in disabling shame that undermines mens' ability to seek help. Sexual victimization is an extremely traumatic experience for anyone regardless of gender and men often face even greater barriers to support due to suspicion, ridicule and disbelief. This results in little space for men to be vulnerable and ask for the help that they need.

Are some women more likely than others to be sexually assaulted?

Women with disabilities and those from marginalized, racial, sexual and socio-economic groups are more vulnerable to sexual violence. 83% of women with disabilities, for example, will be sexually abused in their lifetime (Liz Stimpson and Margaret Best, 1991, Courage Above All: Sexual Assault against Women with Disabilities). Sexual violence is highly traumatic for anyone, including sex trade workers, and has a detrimental and lifelong impact. 

Saying “no” is the only way of expressing your desire to not continue?

Many offenders will rationalize their behavior by saying that because she didn’t actually say “no”, so they thought consent was obtained. The law is clear: without consent, it is sexual assault. Consent means saying Yes to sexual activity. In addition to saying No, there are many ways of communicating non-compliance.
• “I’m not into this right now”
• “Maybe later”
• “I’m not sure”
• silence
• crying
• body language (squirming, stiffness, shaking)
In addition:
• If a person is too intoxicated to say No, there is no consent
• If a person is too scared to say No, there is no consent
• If a person is asleep or unconscious, there is no consent

Misconceptions about the use of alcohol and/or substances and sexual violence shift the blame to the victim/survivor. This isn’t fair, and minimizes the perpetrator’s responsibility for obtaining clear consent. Any altered state that inhibits someone’s ability to say NO does not constitute consent.

Sexual assault only occurs when there is a struggle or physical injury?

Many survivors are too afraid to struggle. They may freeze in terror or realize that the overwhelming size and strength of their attacker makes resistance very dangerous. In cases reported to police, 80% of sexual assault survivors knew their abusers (Statistics Canada, 2003, The Daily, 25 July). Acquaintances, friends or relatives are more likely to use tricks, verbal pressure, threats or mild force like arm twisting or pinning their victim down during an assault. Assaults may also be drug assisted. Lack of obvious physical injury or knowing the attacker doesn’t change the fact that sexual assault is violent and against the law.

If I want a SANE exam, will I have to report to the police or to STFX?

The SANE program is available to anyone over the age of 13 who has been sexually assaulted within the last 5 days. SANE services are confidential, and will not be reported to anyone without the students consent. The SANE team can provide information and support in the process of reporting to the RCMP and the Student conduct coordinator. There is no obligation to report the assault to anyone to receive SANE services.

(Unless the person who experienced the sexual assault is under the age of 16, or an adult in need of protection. Then mandatory reporting policies do apply).