Muddy boots were stomping their way across Western University’s campus last week, flaunting around home-made signs of solidarity.
Dozens of students and staff marched across campus to take a stand against daily sexual violence abuses on and off campus.
Take Back the Campus was part of a two-week long sexual violence awareness initiative, with a sexual violence fall forum taking place tonight with Jackson Katz, an anti-sexist activist.
Rose Aquino, Student Centre staff, has been working at Western for about three decades. She agrees that the onus is on the university to provide students with available resources and safe discussion spaces.
“It’s a good starting point because I think there is confusion around what (consent) means and some people might not even know what you’re talking about consent,” she said. “There’s a sense of community around a very important campus issue and consent being a very big and important topic that we’re trying to impart to the university community.”
Hannah Eastman, first year Brescia student, expects the university to take responsibility over educating students about consent.
“I think especially (teaching) girls about how big of an issue it is and protection for themselves and enforcing it in the eye of the first years, away from home to the first time,” she said, crediting social media for helping continue the conversation.
“Maybe back in the day people tried to bring it to the light but they were shut down and keep quiet, but now with social media you can kind of voice your own opinion,” she added.
The first annual sexual violence awareness program included an upstander training and consent community video.
Where to go:
What: Sexual violence fall forum by Jackson Katz
When: Monday, October 24
Where: Western University, McKeller Room