Imagine the following:
You’ve decided to go to an event being thrown on campus, maybe with some friends or with someone you just met. You think they’re cute, and spend some time with them throughout the event. When they make advances toward you that indicate that they would like your relationship to get physical, you explain that you aren’t comfortable with a sexual relationship so early on. The morning after, you realize that you were taken advantage of and that you did not give your consent to the sexual activity. You reach out to fellow students, maybe through social media, looking for an outlet to share your feelings. Instead of being met with warmth and praise for speaking out about the sexual assault, you experience what sexual assault victims are too often met with: victim blaming.
The issue of sexual assaults on college and university campuses has become a huge new stories in recent months, as it’s a problem that is clearly happening; but, otherwise wasn’t being spoken about.
The biggest issue faced by victims of sexual assault on campuses is the outdated, and sometimes non-existent, ways of supporting them when a sexual assault is reported. Some schools, such as the University of Toronto have had to investigate how reports had been handled when students come forward, because of how a report was handled.
According to a report released by the YWCA Canada, there are 460,000 sexual assaults in Canada every year.
UOIT is in the process of updating the 2010 Student Conduct Policy with a focus on victims rights, and has held workshops with students to get an idea of what students want to see in the update. The focus is to not have a victim become re victimized if they come forward, and to take the issues facing students today and have the procedures meet these issues.
By posting this, we are attempting to create an open forum for UOIT’s community. Are you aware of UOITs current policies? Do you know what would occur if you made a formal complaint against someone? Mostly important, what do you want to see UOIT do?
Feel free to start that conversation in the comments, or you are also welcome to come in and speak with us about this issue.
We want to hear from you.