As classes ramp up at universities across Canada this fall, we are entering the so-called “red zone” — a six-week period in which sexualized violence has been on the rise at universities across the country.
To combat such incidents in Dal, Lyndsay Anderson, Sexualized Violence Counselor at Dalhousie’s Office of Human Rights and Equality, is working with Action Now Atlantic to unveil a series of events and initiatives this week that target sexual and gender-based violence.
Anderson says holding events on campus during the first few weeks of classes can move the needle when it comes to keeping more students safe.
“These events are designed to create a healthy community where students feel safe to report sexual violence or seek help if they need it,” says Anderson, of the students and other Dal community members who have questions , offering personal support about safer sex, consent, or access to resources.
This year’s Consent Week events and activities – both at Dal and through Action Now Atlantc – will include a mix of in-person and virtual events. They are accessible to all students, staff and faculty members. Participants will learn everything from sexual health to proper consent and how to be a better ally for those affected by sexualised violence.
Throughout the week, students are encouraged to stop by the Consent Awareness Booth where they will be challenged with consent questions and can test their knowledge of safer sex practices. The stand is located in a different residence every day.
Where is the consent status for the rest of the week?
- Wednesday, September 21, 4:30-6:00 p.m. – Shirreff Hall Lobby
- Friday 23 September, 4.45pm-6pm – Howe Hall, outside the Dining Room
Anderson also suggests watching a few Action Now Atlantic events in particular. On Wednesday evening (September 21) at 7 p.m., the group will host an online anonymous Sex-Ed Q&A with Dr. Lisa Dawn Hamilton, a psychology professor at Mount Allison University.
“This event is a great opportunity for students who are curious about all things consent, sexuality and sexual health, but don’t want the added pressure of asking directly,” Anderson explains.
Then on Thursday, therapist Kayla Breelove Carter, a clinical traumatologist who leads Breelove Counseling, will give a talk at 1 p.m. on how and why racism affects victims of sexualized violence and what can be done about it. Learn more about how to participate in these events.
How to become a better ally
Later on Thursday, a separate talk moderated by Dal will offer advice on how to intervene when witnessing sexualised violence. This will take place in the McCain Arts & Social Sciences Building, Room 1102, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
“This workshop is great for those who may not know how to safely intervene as viewers of sexualized violence and for those who want to be better allies,” says Anderson.
For more information on these and other events at Dal and about Action Now Atlantic, visit the HRES Consent Week page.
Also read: What is sexualized violence? (Dal Student Life blog)
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexualized violence at Dalhousie, you can contact the Office of Human Rights and Justice for more information about the resources available to you.