Western is seeking input from across the campus community as the university looks to address gender-based and sexual violence. This effort is part of Western’s continued commitment to provide and maintain an environment in which sexual violence is not tolerated, explained Jennifer Massey, Associate Vice-President (Student Experience).
“We want to advance the training we offer to students about sexual violence,” Massey said. “The goal is to shift our training from single low-dose workshops to a comprehensive approach integrated across our learning environments and built into the structures already in place, such as student leader training.”
With a focus on healthy relationships and healthy sexuality, programming will address the root causes of sexual violence, giving students a critical eye to examine behaviour influenced by culture and social norms.
“It is essential our programming is evidence-informed and rigorously assessed,” Massey said, noting the early involvement of both the University Students Council (USC) and the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) in the consultation process.
“Student input is especially important because we need to hear from those who have felt unheard for too long. The door is open for all of us to contribute to this process,” said Mary Blake Rose SOGS President.
Carina Gabriele, USC Student Programs Officer, agrees. “We must fully understand the real and perceived barriers students identify through consultation. Failure to include that feedback when creating programming tailored to students will produce insufficient, underutilized results,” she said.
Feedback will help guide prevention education across student populations and will:
- Help identify gaps in current prevention programming;
- Increase the capacity to engage in rigorous assessment of the programming;
- Provide guidance to develop more effective programming and interventions; and
- Allow for a coordinated and sustained effort to provide integrated evidence-informed gender-based and sexual violence prevention programs at Western.
Faculty, staff and/or students who wish to share their input on the university’s efforts toward sexual violence prevention should contact Erin Huner, Director (Research Assessment & Planning Student Experience) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are eager to engage with students, faculty and community experts as we continue review the draft and develop the content,” Massey said.
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REACH OUT FOR HELP
Supports and services are available to any Western student who has experienced sexual violence, regardless of when or where it may have occurred. Students do not need to disclose details of their experience to access support.
Students who have experienced sexual violence can access immediate help on Western’s Safe Campus site. Tamara Will, Sexual Violence Prevention Education Coordinator, can be reached directly at email@example.com.