Sexual assault on campus is a problem that will not go away until we do something about it

Reproductive Justice NB, a feminist collective that includes many professors and students at Fredericton’s universities as well as members of the wider New Brunswick community, would like to congratulate Professor Jan Wong for organizing a screening at St.Thomas University of The Hunting Ground, a documentary about campus rape at Harvard University and other universities in the U.S.

Despite the fact that most sexual assaults are not reported, one sexual assault has already been reported at St. Thomas University during this academic year.

Campus rape is a very real traumatic experience for one in four women on university campuses in the U.S. Canadian universities do not publish rape statistics.

Our universities need to take action on sexual assaults on campus. We have students in our classes who are survivors of sexual assault. The University of New Brunswick needs to finalize its sexual assault policy immediately, and do more to support rape survivors and prevent sexual assault. Sexual assault crisis centres on campus and in our community require adequate funding and resources.

Our universities need to do more to ensure maximum participation at consent workshops. Consent workshops are mandatory at some universities. Incredibly, only one in three respondents to a Canadian Women’s Foundation survey published this year understood what consent meant. Consent should be both positive and ongoing during sexual activity.

We can choose to pretend that our Fredericton universities are unlike other universities where campus rape happens, or we can choose to join the growing number of students, faculty members and administrators who are refusing to be silent about rape at their places of learning and work. Let us all do more to support survivors, hold our university institutions accountable, and stop sexual assaults on campus.

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