Trent University has joined forces with several community agencies and downtown bars to launch a new educational campaign to prevent sexual assault in the Trent and Peterborough communities.
“The focus of this new campaign goes beyond the more traditional warnings to individuals – particularly women – about safety, usually by restricting their behaviour,” said Erica Colley, clinical team leader with Trent University Student Health Services. “We want to encourage all members of the community to help prevent sexual assault from happening. The shift is from primarily focusing on individual safety measures – which can lead to feeling blamed if sexual assault occurs – to giving people the tools understand sexual assault and to intervene when necessary.”
Running through the end of September 2013, the new campaign consists of presentations to first-year students and training for student staff during Introductory Seminar Week, Trent’s orientation week for new students, which runs from September 2-6, 2013. The campaign also features printed materials such as posters, pamphlets and swag, and social marketing pieces, which will be widely distributed both on campus and in downtown bars.
Components of the campaign include how to ensure each partner is giving consent and awareness of what constitutes sexual assault. The goal is to provide the tools to intervene in situations that have the potential to result in sexual assault.
“Our hope is to engage our whole community in helping each other,” says Nona Robinson, associate vice president, Students at Trent University. “The more empowered our students are to ensure that every sexual encounter is a wanted one, to recognize potentially dangerous situations, to know how to intervene, to know how to, and to know where to go for help if they need it, the safer it will be for all our students.
The goal of this campaign is to educate the public and reduce the incidences of sexual violence.
“We hope to raise awareness, challenge myths, fight victim-blaming, empower bystanders, and stand in solidarity with survivors,” Ms. Colley added.
Partners in the campaign include: Trent University, Women’s Health Care Center of PRHC, Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Program, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Services and at least 17 different downtown bars and clubs frequented by Trent students.