In wake of the allegations against movie executive Harvey Weinstein, it’s brought light to a difficult subject. Sexual violence is a heinous phrase that incites criminal behavior. It’s important to understand what sexual violence is, and how it effects the victims and individuals involved.
Many of the celebrities coming forward with their stories have kept quiet for years. Fanshawe was the first college to have a sexual violence prevention program. Leah Marshall is the sexual violence prevention advisor at Fanshawe College. Marshall says that it’s common for victims to stay silent out of fear. More often than not, she says that it’s someone the victim knows and that they do not want to speak out and be shamed.
“Sexual violence isn’t about sex. It’s about power and control… and sometimes using their position of privilege to exert that.”
She also says that many victims do not come forward because of the societal stigma surrounding rape culture. In Bud Light’s #UpForWhatever campaign, they had bottles printed with “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your Saturday night”. After an apology statement from the popular beer company, the correlation between alcohol consumption and sexual violence was clear.
At Fanshawe College, its sexual violence prevention program tries to break down the stigma and create a community where people will stand up for victims.
Seth MacFarlane made a quip about Harvey Wenstein at the Oscar’s 5 years ago, and since has publicly stated he knew about the allegations from long before.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) October 11, 2017
Marshall says that staying silent as a bystander feeds into the narrative that accepts this type of culture, and normalizes sexual violence. The program feels the best way to engage and to end this acceptance is through education. Marshall believes support programs have been put in place to help those in sexual violence situations to be able to achieve their goals.
“Everyone comes to college with hopes and dreams of what they want their futures to look like, and the most devastating thing is if that’s taken from someone… It’s really acknowledging that we all have that role to play because we know what it’s like to have those dreams and hopes.”
For more information you can visit counselling services at Fanshawe’s main campus, or contact them through 1-844-666-SVPA.