WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT
This story contains mentions of sexual assault. People who need support can call the Ottawa Distress Center Crisis Line: 613-238-3311 or the Carleton Sexual Assault Support Center: 613-520-5622.
The Department of Equity and Inclusive Communities (EIC) at Carleton University and the Office of the Vice-President (Students and Enrollment) presented the annual report 2021 on sexual violence at the Board of Governors (BoG) on 9 June. The BoG also approved an update to its sexual violence policy in the virtual meeting.
The annual report revealed that there were 92 disclosures of sexual violence at the university in 2021. Of the 92 cases, 71 were classified as sexual assault, 36 took place on campus and only two made the subject to official investigation.
In 2020there were 67 disclosures, 25 fewer than in 2021. The report says the increase in sexual violence disclosures “indicates[s] greater confidence in institutional response capacity.
Anthony Valenti, a Carleton student who co-authored a call to action for increased prevention of sexual violence on campus last year, said the university’s explanation for increased disclosures “grossly understates the real problem.”
The increase in reports of sexual violence may instead indicate an increase in sexual violence on campus, as the university has done nothing to gain student confidence in its sexual violence procedures, he said. Explain.
Carleton was ranked ninth out of 15 universities for student satisfaction with sexual assault prevention in the Maclean’s 2022 university rankings.
A 2019 report by the Canadian Center for Justice and Community Safety Statistics found that 71% of students in Canadian post-secondary schools have witnessed or experienced sexual violence in a school setting. There were 31,409 students enrolled at Carleton in 2021-22, meaning 22,301 of those students were likely to have witnessed or experienced sexual violence in a single year according to the report’s findings.
The updated policy on sexual violence
Carleton’s inaugural Sexual Violence Policy was approved in 2016. It must be updated every three years and requires the publication of an annual report on sexual violence.
During the 2021-2022 academic year, students and community members provided feedback on the policy through various consultation meetings and online submissions. Meetings were also held with key Carleton student governments.
But Valenti said attendance was very low at the meetings he attended.
“People still don’t feel comfortable talking openly about these issues in college,” he said.
Carleton University Student Association (CUSA) President and former BoG Undergraduate Governor Anastasia Lettieri echoed the statement in an email to the charlatan, saying that there were only 20-30 responses on the student feedback section during the consultation process.
CUSA recently amended its policy on security devices to allow the distribution of unarmed personal security devices to women and non-binary people.
The revised sexual violence policy includes few changes. Those that are done deal mostly with language. However, some major changes include addressing systemic forms of oppression; clarification on the process for managing conflicts of interest in investigations; and a new section that prohibits asking survivors “irrelevant questions”.
The newly added section 8.13 states: “A person who discloses their experience of sexual violence…shall not be asked irrelevant questions during the investigation process by investigators or any officials involved in the process, including irrelevant questions relating to gender expression or the person’s background. sexual history.
During the BoG meeting, the EIC also provided its Annual Report on Honoring Each Other: Creating Cultures of Consent on Campus, the university’s sexual violence prevention strategy.
The strategy was developed in 2019 through Carleton’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Committee (SVPEC) following the last review of the Sexual Violence Policy and is updated every three months with new initiatives.
In the report, EIC said it would implement a “robust communications strategy” this fall to ensure community members are aware of the strategy and can provide feedback through its online portal.
“The university has missed the mark.”
No major changes have been made to SVPEC or education and prevention as a whole in the revised sexual violence policy despite student calls to improve in these areas.
Lettieri said the revised policy does not prioritize the safety of Carleton’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities.
“The university should have collected relevant and up-to-date data, conducted mass consultations and developed a policy on sexual violence that really addresses the seriousness of this harm both on campus and off campus,” he said. she writes. “The university has missed the mark.”
The next BoG meeting is scheduled for October 4th.
Featured graphic by Sara Mizannojehdehi.