Oct. 29, 2015
Women's Resource Centre launches sexual assault prevention project
One in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Marginalized communities are at an even higher risk. The Women’s Resource Centre (WRC), in partnership with the Consent Awareness and Sexual Education Club (CASE), has launched a consent-based program developed to address sexual assault on the University of Calgary campus.
The sexual assault prevention project, Creating a Culture of Consent, is a three-year, multi-dimensional program that aims to end sexual assault by educating the campus community on consent, respect and communication.
Organizers want to create a conversation space around consent
While education methods focusing on self-defence and risk reduction have been the go-to for institutions wanting to curb sexual assault on campuses in the past, this project aims to stop sexual assaults before they start by focusing on consent education and awareness-raising. By creating the space to have conversations about consent, organizers hope to empower students to create change on campus and in their communities.
“Sexual assault is severely under-reported — less than one in 10 assaults are reported in Canada according to Statistics Canada,” says Nanako Furuyama, co-ordinator, WRC and pictured above, right. “This project aims to create a campus culture where victim blaming is no longer tolerated and to make the campus an environment where survivors will feel supported regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation and relationship status.”
Emily Leedham, a student and a co-founder of CASE and pictured above, left, says, “The majority of sexual violence cases occur when the victim and perpetrator know each other, either as friends, co-workers, family members or classmates. This breakdown of boundaries can happen in any relationship where consent is not practiced or valued.”
Campus-wide campaign includes workshops and speaker events
Over the next three years, the project will feature a campus-wide campaign and offer various educational workshops and high-profile speaker events to engage students in a positive manner and educate them about the importance of consent and healthy relationship. The project also includes the enhancement of existing peer support services at the WRC to support students and provide an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills through a co-operative education program and peer helper program.
Creating a Culture of Consent is funded by the Students’ Union Quality Money initiative.
Project kicks off with free talk by popular sex educator
To kick off this project, the WRC is hosting the event, Taking down Rape Culture with Laci Green. Laci Green is a sex educator and activist known for her popular YouTube series Sex+. This workshop will take an in-depth look at our culture’s attitudes and responses to sexual violence, to illuminate the problem, and help bring it to a halt.