UVic, student groups take proactive approach to prevent sexualized violence

UVic, the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) and the Anti-Violence Project are teaming up to promote social dialogue and prevention of sexualized violence in the second annual Sexualized Violence Awareness Week (SVAW), Sept. 14 to 18.

SVAW provides the forum for a proactive approach across campus to engage in positive and empowering conversation, developed in response to heightened concerns about incidents of sexualized violence at Canadian universities.

The week’s activities include seminars, special projects, guest speakers, and educational activities to address the issue of sexual violence in society. The keynote event Sept. 15 features Darnell Moore, senior editor of MicNews and co-managing editor of The Feminist Wire, along with BC social justice educator Anna Soole and spoken-word performer and Victoria Youth Poet Laureate Zoë Duhamie.

Jim Dunsdon, associate vice-president of Student Affairs, says universities have a shared responsibility with the rest of society in preventing sexualized violence.

“UVic is committed to informing and educating our community in order to prevent and ultimately end sexualized violence. This is a conversation that needs to involve our entire campus,” says Dunsdon. Research demonstrates that most often sexualized violence occurs within a student’s first year of university and the majority of assaults occur within the first few weeks of classes.

“Having the SVAW take place during the second week of classes highlights the importance of the issues and our commitment to providing a range of proactive, educational opportunities developed with a wide range of campus partners,” says Dunsdon.

SVAW builds on last year’s events with bystander intervention training. The program is intended to educate and train students how to intervene to help prevent sexualized violence on campus and within their social circles. The training also includes information on consent and how to help support individuals who experience sexual violence.

“Offering bystander intervention training to students is an important initiative on our campus,” says Carol Bilson, coordinator of the Anti-Violence Project. “Changing attitudes and cultures will do even more to help prevent incidents before they occur.”

This year will see an expanded Let’s Get Consensual campaign, which was launched in 2014. This invites students to take a pledge to practise consensual decision-making in their relationships. Students taking the pledge engage with trained volunteers who explain and answer questions about how consent works. Last year more than 500 students took this pledge. View the video on 2014’s Let’s Get Consensual campaign here:

“The goal of Let’s Get Consensual is to start a conversation about consent in order to challenge sexualized and gender-based violence,” says Brydon Kramer, University of Victoria Students’ Society board member. “This work is extremely important because we live in a culture where consent is often not talked about."

Sexualized Violence Awareness Week starts with a banner raising and information fair on Monday, Sept.14, from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Petch Fountain on campus. Among the week’s activities is the Clothesline Project, where people can tell their experiences of sexual violence by creating art on T-shirts that will be displayed on a clothesline around campus for all to see.

More information on Sexualized Violence Awareness Week and a schedule of events can be found at

Moore is available for interviews through University Communications + Marketing.

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Media contacts

Jim Dunsdon (Associate Vice-President, Student Affairs) at 250-721-6421 or avpsa@uvic.ca

Joel Lynn (Executive Director, Student Services) at 250-721-8022 or dirss@uvic.ca

Paul Marck (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-6246 or pcmarck@uvic.ca

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Keywords: sexualized violence, student life, UVSS

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