OUSA fights to end on-campus sexual violence

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On Mar. 19, the Ontario government announced the results of the 2018 Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey. Over 160,000 post-secondary students responded to this survey. Out of which, 117,000 were university students. The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) sees the announcement as a step forward in combating sexual violence but worries about the extent to which students experience sexual violence and is advocating greater action to put an end to sexual violence on campus.

OUSA has been in dialogue with MPPs and supports the decision of the government to increase the Women’s Campus Safety Grant funding to $6 million. OUSA is constantly urging the government to introduce sexual violence education, bystander intervention training and other interventions, and program evaluation on university campuses; clearly outline metrics used by universities when assessing their sexual violence policies and work done by task forces to address on-campus sexual violence. It is also pushing for the release of complete survey results with anonymity of the respondents to be able to put forth efficient and effective recommendations.

“All of our member student associations have reached out to our respective university administrations to discuss the results of the survey and how to work with our students to address these findings on campus,” said Stephanie Bertolo, OUSA board member and student at McMaster University, in a press release issued on March 19. “We hope that by working with our institutions, this data can help us understand how to better support and protect students with a survivor-based perspective.”

OUSA believes that transparency in survey results is necessary to understand the scope of the issue and seek justice.

“We know there will be interesting and valuable patterns to identify from institution specific data that will enable us to design solutions catered to the University of Waterloo context. OUSA is urging the government to review the data and release it as soon as possible while maintaining appropriate privacy measures so that institutions can begin the work of analysis,” Matthew Gerrits, OUSA board member and vice president education, Federation of Students, told Imprint. OUSA’s full stance on the subject can be found on its website.

If you or someone you know requires support, please consult the resources below:  Good2Talk: good2talk.ca, or call 1-866-925-5454.

For campus-specific resources, visit uwaterloo.ca/police/campus-safety/sexual-assault.