My co-worker Gabrielle (the coordinator of our Peer Support and Advocacy Program here at the Centre for Gender Advocacy) sent me this article from “back in the day”, when the Centre for Gender Advocacy was known as the Concordia Women’s Centre. Although the article was written in 1992 – and the language in it is far from perfect – it raises many points that are distressingly relevant today:
“The university is now more than ever a site where many hopes for the future are held, an almost necessary rite of passage for anyone, male or female, who wishes to accede to positions of power in this society (even though the exchange value of diplomas is no longer what it used to be). Much of the commentary surrounding incidences of violence towards women on university campuses in recent years has consisted of attempts to skirt what is ultimately an unavoidable issue: what has, in fact, been happening?”
Well over a decade later, it seems we are still looking for answers to this question. Sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes there is, and when policies regarding sexual assault are unclear, inconsistent, and inaccessible, many more survivors have a strong disincentive to report their assaults. This is why policy reform is so important, in addition to developing and implementing better services for survivors on campus.