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In January 2021, the Ontario Government announced a proposal of changes to sexual violence and harassment policies at post-secondary institutions to ensure that students alleging an instance of sexual violence and harassment are not faced with irrelevant questions about their sexual history, and do not face repercussions for violating an institution’s drug and alcohol policy.
These proposed changes are said to be aimed at reducing student concerns about stigma and fear when it comes to reporting incidents relating to sexual violence and harassment on our campuses. It has been widely known that many instances of sexual violence and harassment on and around campuses go unreported, and often this is because students are afraid of reprisal or concerned that they will not be taken seriously.
This Info sheet aims to magnify the focus on this topic by discussing the societal and environmental factors that contribute to the fear and stigma known to deter many from coming forward to report these incidents and how campus staff can take action to reduce these fears. Topics covered include:
· Defining and contextualizing sexual violence and consent
· Understanding and unpacking ‘rape culture’
· Fear of coming forward: exploring reasons why students don’t report incidents
· Providing the right support: recommendations for staff on campus