Volume 45 Issue No. 5 September 24, 2012 www.fsu.ca/interrobang/
You bought a girl a few drinks atthe bar, you’re hitting on her, andshe’s ‘flirting’ back. She seems to be into you, and is getting prettydrunk, she agrees to go back toyour place with you. Is it okay tohave sex with her? Louise Pitre,executive director of the SexualAssault Centre in London (SACL)stressed that it is against the law tohave sex without consent: “If someone’s drunk, they can’t giveconsent, even if there’s a ‘yes’there.”Lois Wey, manager of Counselling and AccessibilityServices at Fanshawe, said thatmen especially need to be aware of this. “It’s very dangerous for young men to assume (yes) because he didn’t hear ‘no,’ or because he pushed a little further and no one pushed him off … or that she ‘gave into him’ …Continually being aggressive and pushing yourself onto someone,it’s not consensual sex.”One in four women who begancollege or university thisSeptember will experience sexualviolence by the time they finishschool. The risk of sexual assault isfour times greater for women aged16 to 24. Why is sexual assault socommon among college-agedwomen?Pitre said, “The women are morevulnerable. They’re entering either university or college at a younger age, and there are a number of sit-uations that make them a bit morevulnerable.”Wey agreed that it’s the natureof these situations that makes itdangerous. “A lot of students arenew to London, and they’re new tocampus. This is a community of 15,000 students. Many of our stu-dents who come here come fromtowns that are smaller than that.They know the good guys, the badguys; they know the support sys-tems, where to walk and who tocall.”Here, everything is new, and thatcan sometimes create new dangers.Wey stressed that the beginning of the year is a high-risk time.“People have more money, thereare more parties at the beginning of the year, there’s less work, and people just aren’t really groundedyet as to where they fit in this newcommunity.”According to London police,there were 152 sexual assaults andaggravated sexual assaults thattook place in London in 2011.Over 60 of those victims were aged11 to 20, and 42 were between theages of 21 and 30. Pitre said it’salso important to recognize thatstatistically, only 10 per cent of these crimes are being reported.“Sexual violence is the crime thatis the least reported in our countryand in our province.”This has become a huge issue,and Wey stressed the importanceof reporting these incidences.“They need to make a report for their own well-being, get medicalattention if that’s needed, get infor-mation about their sexual health.And the other reality is that if thatstudent has assaulted someone oncampus, they’ll do it again, so ithelps to protect your peers.”According to SACL, sexual vio-lence can be defined as anythingfrom forced touching, kissing or fondling to forced participation insexual acts, manipulative sexualityand discrimination based on gen-der to sexual intimidation, threatsand fear.Approximately 80 per cent of sexual violence incidents are com-mitted by someone the victimknows. The problem is often thatwe don’t suspect it, suggestedWey. “We often think about the bad stranger, the weirdoes outthere. The challenge is that sexualassaults are most commonly done by someone the student knows … afriend of a friend, someone theyknow in class, someone that lookslovely.”Although often times there may be no warning signs involved, Pitresaid there are some things to look out for such as whether you’re in ahealthy or unhealthy relationship, being controlled, and beingrespected.You can also be cautious whenstarting a new relationship. “Don’t become too secluded, too intimatetoo soon with someone you don’treally know yet,” Wey said. “Takeit slower, get to know the person ina safe environment with other peo- ple, and do so with less booze anddrugs in your system. You’re goingto get a much better read, especial-ly with a sober mind.”What can you do to protect your-self?Lisa Andersen, a special consta- ble with Fanshawe Security, rec-ommended students take the RapeAggression Defence class offered by Fanshawe. “It’s a great class. Itteaches females how to prepare for those situations and to be a little bitmore alert of their surroundings …They do learn physical defencetechniques, such as how to get outof a chokehold or how to get out of being pinned against a wall or theground.”Fanshawe also has a studentauxiliary team that provides freesafe walk escorts anywhere oncampus, 24/7. If an incident doesoccur, there are many servicesavailable in London and on cam- pus. At Fanshawe you can visitCounselling Services in F2010.You can call to make an appoint-ment in advance or, if it’s urgent,they do offer same-day appoint-ments in the mornings.For more information onWomen’s Safety Awareness atFanshawe, visit fanshawewsa.com.For more information about theSexual Assault Centre London,visit sacl.ca.
Sexual violence a scary reality
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Pamphlets handed out by the Sexual Assault Centre London tell studentswhat they need to know to stay safe.