SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

October 29, 2015 10:00 ET

University of Calgary Women's Resource Centre launches sexual assault prevention project

Consent-based program kicks off with free talk by popular sex educator and activist

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - October 29, 2015) - One in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Marginalized communities are at an even higher risk. The University of Calgary’s Women’s Resource Centre (WRC), in partnership with the Consent Awareness and Sexual Education Club (CASE), has launched a consent-based program developed to address cases of sexual assault at the University of Calgary.

The sexual assault prevention project, Creating a Culture of Consent, is a three-year, multi-dimensional program that aims to end sexual assault by educating the campus community on consent, respect and communication.

While education methods focusing on self-defence and risk reduction have been the go-to for institutions wanting to curb sexual assault on campuses in the past, this project aims to stop sexual assaults before they start by focusing on consent education and awareness-raising. By creating the space to have conversations about consent, organizers hope to empower students to create change on campus and in their communities.

“Sexual assault is severely under-reported -- less than one in 10 assaults are reported in Canada according to Statistics Canada,” says Nanako Furuyama, coordinator, WRC. “This project aims to create a campus culture where victim blaming is no longer tolerated and to make the campus an environment where survivors will feel supported regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation and relationship status.”

Emily Leedham, a student and a co-founder of CASE, says, “The majority of sexual violence cases occur when the victim and perpetrator know each other, either as friends, coworkers, family members or classmates. This breakdown of boundaries can happen in any relationship where consent is not practiced or valued.”

Over the next three years, the project will feature a campus-wide campaign and offer various educational workshops and high-profile speaker events to engage students in a positive manner and educate them about the importance of consent and healthy relationships. The project also includes the enhancement of existing peer support services at the WRC and also provides an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills through co-operative education and peer helper programs.

Creating a Culture of Consent is funded by the Students’ Union Quality Money initiative.

To kick off this project, the WRC is hosting the event, Taking down Rape Culture with Laci Green. Laci Green is a sex educator and activist known for her popular YouTube series “Sex+.” This workshop will take an in-depth look at our culture’s attitudes and responses to sexual violence, to illuminate the problem, and help bring it to a halt.

This free event on October 30 is open to all, and will begin at 7 p.m. in the EEEL lobby. More information about the event can be found on the WRC website.

Nanako Furuyama, as well as members of the Women’s Resource Centre, will be available for media interviews on Thursday, October 29 between 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. MT. If you are interested and would like to set up an interview please use contact information below.

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada’s top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.’

For more information, visit ucalgary.ca. Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. For details on faculties and how to reach experts go to our media center at ucalgary.ca/news/media.

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