By Fabian Mayer, November 3 2015 —
The University of Calgary is launching a three-year sexual assault prevention and awareness campaign.
The Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) is leading the project with a $108,270 budget provided by a Students’ Union Quality Money grant.
WRC coordinator Nanako Furuyama said the money will be spent on a poster campaign, educational workshops and bringing in high-profile speakers.
“We will aim to create a campus culture where victim-blaming is no longer tolerated and the concept of consent is understood and practiced,” Furuyama said.
The program kicked off on Oct. 30 with a talk by YouTube sex educator Laci Green.
According to Furuyama, the Consent Awareness and Sexual Education (CASE) club suggested the project last year. CASE co-founder Emily Leedham said the club will still be involved with the project.
“We’re ambassadors to the general campus community in making sure students know what’s going on — promoting the events, workshops and peers support services,” Leedham said.
CASE president Hillary Jahelka believes the program will help the club spread its message around campus.
“Our goal is to make sure that students understand what consent is and to create a culture where students are not afraid to speak up around issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment,” Jahelka said.
She hopes the program will inform students about the importance of consent in their relationships with friends, colleagues and classmates.
“The number one form of sexual assault is acquaintance sexual assault when the victim and perpetrator know each other,” Jahelka said. “This breakdown of boundaries and respect can happen in any relationship where consent is not practiced or valued.”
The WRC will also add more peer support services for survivors of sexual assault.
“[We want] to make the U of C campus an environment where survivors will feel supported and respected regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation and relationship status,” Furuyama said.