Preventing sexual violence on campus
Published Friday, September 14, 2018 2:20PM EDT
It’s called the red zone, the first weeks of the school year when researchers say sexual violence spikes on post-secondary campuses.
In Sudbury, Cambrian College is trying to do its part to make students feel safe all year round.
Consent is something everyone seems to be talking about recently, with Ontario changing the sex-ed curriculum for younger students.
Although elementary and secondary students won't be learning about it in class, colleges and universities are stressing the topic.
"We want them to be aware of what their rights are. We also want them to know about the supports that are available, if they are the victim of a sexual assault or a survivor of a sexual assault." said Dan Lessard, communications manager for Cambrian College.
In March of 2016, the government amended the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act to require institutions to have sexual violence policies.
Cambrian College has one and it outlines what to do if you experience sexual violence.
But staff members say they are taking it a step further by providing support and education, especially surrounding consent.
"We want them to be very clear on what consent is and what it is not, so that's part of their residence orientation. We also have what is called resident advisors, and the RAs as they are known, are students who actually work for the college while their attending school. So, they’re there to deal with residence problems, but they’re also there to manage any kind of student issues that come up and they are trained on how to deal with sexual assaults and sexual violence." said Lessard.
So how do Cambrian students feel the school is doing?
"I find Cambrian has really stepped it up with that because I went to the vendors’ fair yesterday and a lot of places were promoting like certain things for that, especially the women's center. I learned yesterday like they have like a lot of stuff for that, like even little care packages with like alarms. There’s a little test thing for drinks to see if your drink got spiked." said Caitlyn Sloss, a Cambrian student.
"We have a lot of security, and even in our bathroom stalls, we have little posters that if you feel in danger or whatever you can just text that number and someone comes and sees you. Just around campus, we do have these little blue flashing lights that if you press on it, help comes to you right away." said Nicky Gelineau, another Cambrian student.
Cambrian looks forward to receiving the results from the Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey that was conducted with students across Ontario this past spring.
It hopes to learn more about students’ perceptions and experiences of sexual violence.