Sexualized violence on our campuses

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

When posts in a Facebook group joking about having "hate-sex" and chloroforming women were made public, the anonymous members of "Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen" were instantly infamous. As calls for a response from Dalhousie grew, however, the university equivocated, mired in a controversy for which it seemed to have no response. As of January 12, the 13 students, though suspended from clinical duties, will return to study in courses taught separately from their classmates.

In a year rife with well-publicized cases of misogyny -- including a frosh week "rape chant" at another Halifax university -- it was clear that even in institutions of higher learning, education on how to address gendered violence and harassment is sorely needed. As the controversy over the Dalhousie Dentistry students continues, difficult questions arise: how do we address the complicated causes of gendered violence, and what role do universities play in instituting this change?

On January 9, the Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs responded to the developing crisis, convening a Panel in Halifax titled "Sexualized Violence On Our Campuses." Moderated by Dr. Susan Sherwin, research professor Emerita in Philosophy, Gender and Women's Studies at Dalhousie University, the Panel consisted of: Dr. Jayne Wark Professor Art History and Critical Studies, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; Dr. Jody Clarke, Academic Dean, Atlantic School of Theology; Dr. Francoise Baylis, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy, Dalhousie University and one of five authors of a statement demanding an independent inquiry into sexualized violence on campus; Dr. Rylan Higgins Professor, Anthropology, Saint Mary's University; Dr. Marnina Gonick Canada Research Chair in Gender, Mount Saint Vincent University.

Drawing on questions from the capacity crowd at Halifax's Central Library, the panel discussed the underlying causes of misogyny and "the colonization of our sexuality by malignant, profit-driven forces," its effect on the socialization and sexuality of young women and men and the responsibility individuals and institutions alike have in addressing cases of gendered violence.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading 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. 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.


We welcome your comments! 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 and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • 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.


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