This Glossary provides a central place to find the meaning of key terms in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) work and to access resources for further learning. It will grow and change as the GBV field does. If you find a term should be added or revised, please contact us at vawln@uwo.ca

You can view the terms associated with a letter by selecting the letter below. Crossed out letters do not have any terms. You can also click here for a PDF of all the included terms.


White Supremacy

“White supremacy generally refers to a nineteenth-century Euro-American doctrine that positioned specific racialized groups—‘whites’—and the societies they developed—“the West”—as superior to other peoples, nations, or communities.” [1] 

Accordingly, it is a system based on the assumption of the “rightness of Whiteness” in which political, economic and social systems result in White people having more privilege and power than racialized people. [1]

Although this doctrine is often associated with the discriminatory attitudes and behaviours of individuals and relatively small groups, critical race theorists have shown that it emerges from a broader system of domination in society:

“[White supremacy] does not require individuals to hold racist ideas but rests upon a structuring of the interests of white-dominated societies as superior to others and on a systemic exploitation and control of other racialized groups and societies. It operates to maintain and defend a system of white wealth, power, and privilege — an ideology and not a skin color — that also takes for granted the role of those who adhere to the ideology as national and global leaders, thinkers, creators, authorities, and decision makers… Moreover, white supremacy does not always require a distancing, exclusion, or hatred of the racial Other. When steeped in neoliberalism, it can express a longing for the presence of, or a desire to help, the Other, neither of which unsettle unequal racialized relations of power.” [2]


[1] Kempadoo, K. (2015). The modern-day white (wo)man’s burden: Trends in anti-trafficking and anti-slavery campaigns. Journal of human trafficking.  1:1: 8-20.  P. 13. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23322705.2015.1006120

[2] Springtide Resources. (2008). An integrated anti-oppression framework for reviewing and developing policy: A toolkit for community service organizations. Retrieved from http://www.oaith.ca/assets/files/Publications/Intersectionality/integrated-tool-for-policy.pdf


Workplace Violence

“The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker. It also includes an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker; and a statement or behaviour that a worker could reasonably interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker. Every employer in Ontario must prepare and review, at least annually, a policy on workplace violence, as required by the OHSA [section  32.0.1 (1) (a) and (c)]. The workplace violence policy should show an employer’s commitment to protecting workers from workplace violence; address violence from all possible sources; outline the roles and responsibilities of the workplace parties in supporting the policy and program; and, be dated and signed by the highest level of management of the employer or at the workplace as appropriate.” [1]

Learn More:


[1] Ministry of Labour. (2016). Workplace violence and harassment: Understanding the law. Toronto: Government of Ontario, p. 6-7. Retrieved from https://files.ontario.ca/wpvh_guide_english.pdf