Inappropriate Sexual or Harassing Behaviours in Canada, 2018

Release date: December 5, 2019
Infographic: Inappropriate Sexual or Harassing Behaviours in Canada, 2018
Description: Inappropriate Sexual or Harassing Behaviours in Canada, 2018

Inappropriate Sexual or Harassing Behaviours in Canada, 2018

Unwanted sexual behaviours in public include:

  • Unwanted physical contact
  • Indecent exposure
  • Unwanted sexual attention (such as whistles, catcalls, or comments)
  • Comments about sex, gender, or sexual orientation

All are forms of gender-based violence.

Almost 1 in 3 women and just over 1 in 8 men 15 years of age and older felt unsafe or uncomfortable due to unwanted sexual behaviour they experienced.

Percentage of people who felt unsafe or uncomfortable due to unwanted sexual behaviour
Gender Percentage
Women 32%
Men 13%

1 in 4 women and 1 in 15 men experienced unwanted sexual attention in public. This was the most common type of unwanted sexual behaviour.

Among those individuals who experienced this behaviour in the past 12 months:

  • The perpetrator was usually a male stranger. 75% of women and 47% of men who experienced unwanted sexual behaviour stated this.
  • 1 in 10 women and men said that the most serious instance took place on public transit. This represented 629,000 women and 211,000 men.
  • About half of women and men changed their behaviour due to their experience. This included altering their routines, actions, or the way they look or act in public.

18% of women and 14% of men experienced some form of harassment while online or using a smartphone.

The two most common harassing behaviours experienced online were:

  • Being sent unwanted sexually suggestive or explicit images or messages
  • Being sent threatening or aggressive emails or personal messages
Common harassing behaviours experienced online, by gender
  Women Men
Being sent unwanted sexually suggestive or explicit images or messages 11% 6%
Being sent threatening or aggressive emails or personal messages 10% 8%

Of all Internet users, 28% of women and 19% of men blocked other users, deleted their own account, or restricted their Internet use to protect themselves from harassment.

For more information, see the full Juristat article: "Gender-based violence and unwanted sexual behaviour in Canada, 2018."

Source: Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces, 2018.

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