August 19, 2015
Back to School: Are Your Kids Safe on Campus?
Joy, Riz, Neha and Scott want you to help make SFU campus a safer place.
Author: Selenna Ho
“Every time I’m on campus late, I have to think about where I’m going to park my car. That’s because the lights in the parking lot flicker,” Joy, a senior business student at SFU says.
As students prepare for school, Surrey Women's Centre teams up with four SFU business students: Neha, Riz, Scott and Joy. We're working together to make the campus safer for women and girls.
“I sometimes have to change my schedule so that I won’t stay so late on campus. Being a female student means that you have to think about these things. It feels very stressful,” Joy emphasizes.
The truth is, Joy is not alone. Women aged 15-24 experience the highest rates of sexual violence in Canada. Many of them are students. From pro-rape chants at St. Mary's University, to a sex offender targeting female UBC students, sexual assault is becoming a norm for women and girls on campus.
Sexual assault is becoming a norm for women and girls on campus.
But you can help us change that norm. If you or someone you know works or studies at SFU, complete our survey on campus safety. Even Steve Dooley, the Executive Director of SFU Surrey, stopped by our booth. Take this survey and share your thoughts and concerns with us.
For every person who completes our survey, an anonymous donor will give $1 towards our 24 hour crisis line. Women who have been sexually assaulted can call our crisis line to get help right away.
“Violence against women –especially on college campuses –is a sensitive and important topic. Unfortunately, it’s not talked about enough on campus,” Neha stresses.
Nearly 1 in 5 women will be assaulted during their undergraduate years. Yet, 80% of women who have been sexually assaulted don’t feel safe enough to report their experiences. With a campus as big as SFU, only nine students reported sexual assault cases to police between 2009 and 2013.
So how are four business students making a difference on campus?
“We set up booths at SFU, encouraging people to take the student safety survey,” Scott explains. Over 230 students and staff members signed up to create change.
Nearly 1 in 5 women will be assaulted during their undergraduate years.
“We got an amazing response from the students and staff at SFU. That’s because they’ve seen it happen and they felt very helpless. They see a woman in distress and think, ‘What do I do? What can I do?’ They don’t know,” Riz says.
Now they do. By participating in our survey, students and staff help improve campus safety. If you know somebody who works or studies at SFU, share the survey now to create change.
For Scott and Riz, promoting Surrey Women’s Centre made them realize that sexual assault affects everyone. Even them.
“Although I don’t worry as much about lighting on campus, I know a lot of people who do,” Riz says. “We’re trying to connect the dots for everyone,” Scott says. “Connect the people who see the problem of safety on campus, to the resources that can help solve the problem. For us, it’s Surrey Women's Centre.”
Sexual assault should not be the norm for university students. You can change the norm by taking our survey on campus safety, or sharing it with someone you know.
“This cause is an easy one to be passionate about,” Scott says in closing. “Listening and responding to sexual assault concerns is where we can make all the difference.”
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|SFU: Get Involved!|
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|Somewhere New, Somewhere Old|
As an aspiring teacher, I was open to all possibilities, but meeting new people and listening to what they had to say was at the core of what I wanted to do.
|Opening Up the Conversation|
I talk about violence against women with my friends and family. They may start off with surprise and disbelief, but after a while, they start opening up.