Learn about Gender Based Violence

What is Gender Based Violence? content

What is Gender Based Violence?

What is Gender Based Violence?

GBV is violence directed against someone on the basis of their gender or in the context of gendered power hierarchies. This can include;

What does gender have to do with it? content

What does gender have to do with it?

What does gender have to do with it?

A ‘gendered analysis’ of GBV is adopted by UHI because, rather than excluding men from support, it acknowledges that gender inequality, ‘traditional roles’, and stereotypes can negatively impact people of all genders. Statistics also show that those identifying as women disproportionately experience abuse related to this.

Gender inequality can be seen as both a cause and consequence of GBV. The terms ‘Violence against Women’ (VAW) and ‘Gender Based Violence’ (GBV) are often used interchangeably as most GBV is perpetrated by men and against women and girls. However, it is important to acknowledge that Gender Based Violence effects LGBT+ groups, that not all men commit acts of GBV, that a person of any gender can perpetrate GBV, and that a person of any gender can be victim. GBV can also involve people punishing others when they don’t behave in ways that are ‘expected’ of their gender.

UHI understand that homophobic, biphobic or transphobic harassment (due to perceived or actual identity) can be part of the spectrum of GBV, and that is why these harms might be grouped together in our policies, pathways, and support.

The many forms of GBV can have a profound impact on those who experience it, and at UHI we are striving to make our services, or the services we signpost to, as inclusive and accessible as possible.

What is sexual harassment? content

What is sexual harassment?

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual Harassment is a form of GBV that can make you feel intimidated, degraded, or humiliated. Although commonly thought of as 'street harassment' or 'cat-calling', sexual harassment is an umbrella term for many types of hostile violence, and can happen in any environment including online. Whilst not all acts of harassment are technically a crime, they’re all unacceptable and need to be stopped. When behaviour is left unchecked, it could escalate into perpetrators moving on to more extreme and dangerous types of harassment.

  • Flashing/exposure - for example, exposing genitals in a public place and/or masturbating in public (this can also be done underneath someone’s clothing)
  • Sexual comments/gestures - behaviour such as 'catcalling' and 'wolf-whistling', sexual propositions (verbal and non-verbal), and/or making comments about someone’s body
  • Stalking - classed as a pattern of fixated or obsessive behaviour which is repeated, persistent, intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the person targeted - find out more
  • 'Cyberflashing' - for example, sending or showing sexual images and/or website content/links, commonly transmitted via AirDrop or Bluetooth
  • Intrusive/persistent questioning - when you’ve made it clear you don’t want to talk to someone - e.g. “Have you got a boyfriend/girlfriend?”, “Where are you going?” etc.
  • Touching or rubbing against the clothed body of another person in a crowd (e.g. on a busy train or bus) as a means of obtaining sexual gratification
  • Watching explicit content in public areas - e.g. pornography, including in some cases trying to show this content to others nearby
  • 'Upskirting' - placing a camera beneath a person’s clothing to take a voyeuristic photograph without their permission
  • Standing too close when there is no need to/invading personal space - e.g. somebody standing/sitting unusually close to you on a bus or train service that isn’t very busy

The above information is available from Crimestoppers.

Transphobic harassment content

Transphobic harassment

Transphobic harassment

There are also specific types of harassment relating to gender identity and/or sexual orientation, which can also fall under the GBV umbrella. Trans Actual say transphobic harassment, for example, may include:

  • Posting photos of trans people without their consent
  • Spreading rumours about trans people on or offline
  • Sending hateful messages or encouraging others to do the same
  • Deliberate misgendering
  • Sending offensive letters 
  • Otherwise making somebody feel intimidated
What is consent? content

What is consent?

What is consent?

Consent is when a person gives their permission or freely agrees to something that they know about and that they understand.

In the UK, both partners must consent to having any sexual contact for it to be legal. That means that both partners need to know and understand what kind of sexual activity they are agreeing to.

  • Consent is something that can change at any time and even if you have agreed or consented to something, you are still able to change your mind
  • Likewise, just because you have consented to one thing, doesn’t mean you have consented to others. For example, just because someone consents to being touched, does not mean they consent to sex
  • Consent does not have to be given verbally but should be indicated clearly, through noise, body language, facial expressions, nodding etc.


The law says consent cannot be given when:

  • Someone is asleep or unconscious
  • Someone agrees because they are unlawfully detained
  • Someone agrees because of violence or threats
  • Someone agrees because the other person is pretending to be someone else
  • Someone else agrees on the person’s behalf
  • Someone is under the age of 13
  • Someone who is in a position of trust has sex with someone who is in their care and aged 17 or under
  • Someone with a learning disability cannot communicate, understand or form a decision as to whether to engage in an act

If you have been pressured into doing something without giving your consent, it can sometimes feel like it’s your fault or you could feel embarrassed. It’s important to remember that being forced or pressured into doing something is never your fault and there is help available.

This information has been provided by Waverley Care. More information about consent and young people is available from Wave Highland and Young Scot.

FREE Student E-Learning Module content

FREE Student E-Learning Module

FREE Student E-Learning Module

We highly encourage all students to participate in this free e-learning module and contribute to a safer campus, at any time. Created by Rape Crisis Scotland, this short and interactive resource will help you to recognise potential GBV happening to you and to others. A range of learning tools are utilised throughout the module such as quizzes, videos and case studies.

There are two options available for this module:

  1. If you would like to receive a certificate for your learning, please send an email from your student account to support@uhi.ac.uk titled ‘Add to GBV Course’.  We will add you to the course on Brightspace and let you know when it is ready.
  2. Should you need to participate anonymously, you can instead access the module instantly. Instant access will not track your details, so you will be unable to generate a certificate. You can also leave anonymous feedback for the module creators.

More information on why and how we will process your data can be found in the GBV Module Privacy Notice. You should be over 18 and aware that the content may be triggering.

Accessing the Gender-Based Violence module in Brightspace Quick Start Guide

content I am a staff member. How can I learn more about GBV, and UHI's work in this area? content

I am a staff member. How can I learn more about GBV, and UHI's work in this area?

I am a staff member. How can I learn more about GBV, and UHI's work in this area?

You can learn more about GBV by using the links on these webpages.

There is also a wealth of information on the Staff Sharepoint - with a new site dedicated to Gender Based Violence, hosted within the 'UNI Student Support - All Staff' area. Click the star in the top right of the site to 'follow'!

At UHI, every academic partner is encouraged to allocate at least one representative to this area of work (previously called "Equally Safe" practitioners) and join the GBV Network space within MS Teams. For more information, contact your local network member or the UHI Student Support Officer for GBV, kate.m.mawby@uhi.ac.uk