Consent Awareness & Sexual Education Club – Supporting Survivors Campaign
The Consent Awareness & Sexual Education Club (CASE) at the University of Calgary is entering its third year as an award-winning feminist anti-racist organization with a mission to educate young Calgarians about consent as a means of sexual assault prevention. We believe that preventative measures focusing on potential perpetrators are more effective than preventative measures focusing on potential victims. We hope to educate the public as well as University of Calgary students about what consent is – and help foster an environment where consent is requested and respected in sexual relationships.
With funding from Field Law, we are eager to enable the U of C community with the skills to support survivors of sexual abuse and to create awareness on campus around preventing sexual abuse. The project will have two parts - First Responder to Sexual Assault and Abuse Training and a media awareness campaign on consent. We intend to bring in the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services to facilitate the First Responder training for 20 U of C community leaders, including faculty, students, Campus Security, and members of the administration. The intent of the media campaign is to demonstrate the U of C\'s intention to be pro-active in the prevention of sexual abuse. The media campaign would take place during the promotion and advertisement of this training, using witty and engaging artwork/slogans across social media, posters, banners, and promotional materials. This campaign would be similar to our previous campaigns around Halloween and Bermuda Shorts Day. Previous campaigns and initiatives can be found at www.ucalgarycase.ca.
CASE believes that enabling campus leaders with the skills and empathy to support survivors of sexual assault will lead to a cultural shift away from victim-blaming discourse and towards a culture that believes and validates survivors\' experiences.
Who Will it Benefit?
In February 2015, an in-depth report conducted by CBC found that more than 700 incidents of Sexual Assault were reported to Canadian universities and colleges over the last five years. According to YWCA Canada, only 33 out of 1000 sexual assaults are ever reported to the police. This CASE project will enable the U of C to change its culture to one that supports survivors to come forward and report the abuse.
This project will benefit the over 30,000 members of the University of Calgary community, as well as the Calgary community at large. The two components of this project mean that there will be a focus on a cultural change at the leadership level of the community and on the grassroots level as well. The training would enable these leaders to have the skills and empathy to create policies and initiatives that will ensure that students who are survivors feel safe within the U of C campus. The campaign would encourage discussions around how individuals can change their behaviour to be more supportive of survivors.
This project is only one component of a greater cultural shift that we are working towards, in which we dream that our society will end victim-blaming discourse and shift its focus on sexual abuse preventative measures focused on potential perpetrators. If younger people are able to learn these skills and empathy, it will create a society where incidents of violence and abuse are greatly reduced.