rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Ontario universities take first steps in combatting sexual assault

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Following a bombshell exposé published by the Toronto Star on the lack of infrastructure to deal with sexual assault in postsecondary schools, Ontario universities have been taking the first steps to address the issue. The report, published in late November, found that only nine out of 78 public universities in Canada have special policies geared towards aiding survivors of sexual assault.

The Varsity, University of Toronto's student paper, reported this week that the university will be establishing an "Advisory Committee" to combat the issue. The announcement came in the form of a letter from the vice-president, human resources and equity, and the vice-provost, students and first entry divisions. Queen's University will also follow suit by developing "initiatives and programs" to help survivors, as reported by The Journal, the Kingston university's student paper.

Beyond these initiatives, each of the 20 Ontario universities will create a special assault website that outlines rights and options for survivors. Further, the Council of Ontario Universities have struck a task force to address how to best provide support for survivors. Though these are necessary first steps, the path towards justice remains murky: sexual violence officially remains in the jurisdiction of municipal police.

According to the report published by the Toronto Star, the universities that already have special policies to address sexual assault are: Lakehead University in Thunder Bay; the University of Guelph, Brock University in St. Catharines; St. Mary's, Acadia and St. Francis Xavier Universities in Nova Scotia; St. Thomas and Mount Allison universities in New Brunswick; and Western University in London, Ont. St. Thomas University in Fredericton has established policies in the form of an appendix on sexual assault procedures, and the University of Ottawa's policies are currently under review following the expulsion of two hockey players for sexual assault. 

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.