CSU new campaign addresses sexual violence and misconduct on campus
Tia Kutschera Fox // Opinions Editor
The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) will be running a sexual violence and misconduct campaign this semester. The campaign is based on Capilano University’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct policy, which was released in February and a successful campaign created by the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) called Let’s Get Consensual.
The UVSS campaign revolves around the six stages of consent, acknowledging that consent is more complex than “no means no” and involves ongoing communication. Women Student’s Liaison Katie Japaridize explained the CSU wants to have the same success for their campaign. The CSU has asked the UVSS to train them to ensure they have a sensitive approach and learn the right terms and words as they move forward on their campaign.
“I think it’s really important to educate women about sexual violence, as well as men,” explained Japaridize. According to the Sexual Assault Centre (SACHA), between 15 and 25 per cent of college and university-aged women will experience some form of sexual assault while attending school. Statistics like this make a sexual violence campaign more relevant than ever and Japaridize emphasized the importance of understanding consent. At their booth at the CapU Street Party on Sept. 5 she noticed that many students had a very basic or limited understanding of this fundamental concept.
“Yes means yes, but it has to be ongoing,” Japaridize said, referring to CapU’s Sexual Violence policy which defines consent as “an active, direct, voluntary and conscious choice and agreement between adults to engage in sexual activity”. The policy also goes on to define sexual assault, which, in summary, is any type of sexual contact or threat of sexual contact that happens without consent. The policy also lists resources for students who have experienced sexual violence.
Japaridze hopes the campaign will raise awareness about the reality of sexual violence on campus, educate students about consent and spotlight resources that are available to victims of sexual assault. She noted that students are often busy and don’t know about the resources available to them. CapU has on-campus counsellors that can be seen by appointment or for 30-minute drop in sessions. The CSU Lounge in the Maple building has free condoms, and the Women’s Centre in Library 137 is a safe space for female students to relax in.
The campaign is planned to launch at the end of September, but the CSU is still waiting to hear back from the UVSS about training dates. The campaign can’t be launched until the CSU receives training from the UVSS. Originally the CSU was going to be trained in August but it fell through due to scheduling issues. Once the campaign launches it will continue for the remainder of this semester at the minimum. While the launch date hasn’t been decided, there will be a sexual violence and misconduct workshop that anyone is welcome to attend on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 11:30 a.m. in the Maple Lounge.
Japaridize considers the campaign to be a first step. “Now that we have off-campus residence and it’s not really close to university a lot of people might have to walk there so I feel like it’s essential to have some level of self defence classes on campus,” she said, adding that she hopes to eventually increase the resources available to women. Those include having self-defence classes and a counsellor for the Women’s Centre who is trained specifically to handle sexual assault.
Students interested in future workshops and classes can contact Japaridize for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org.