Selkirk College's Healthy Campus Sponsors Month-long Awareness Initiative
Earlier this year, the College adopted the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response policy that sets in place protocols and procedures to ensure survivors of sexual assault have access to the support, resources and information they need to do what’s right for them.
“As new and returning students are now settled into a new school year, it is important for all learners and Selkirk College employees to be connected to these resources and information as we strive to be a violence free college,” says Healthy Campus Advisor Leslie Comrie.
During October, Selkirk College is offering the Bringing in the Bystander training based on the work of Jackson Katz and A.D. Berkowitz developed by the Bystander Team at the University of Windsor with support from Prevention Innovations at the University of New Hampshire.
Students will learn about the continuum of inappropriate sexual behavior, gain skills to intervene as a bystander and develop empathy for those who have experienced sexual violence. Students and employees are also welcome to a lunch-time Eat & Art event where individuals are invited to express what consent means through art. Further information will be available on campus throughout the month.
In conjunction with awareness initiatives taking place, Selkirk College has produced a video just released at selkirk.ca/healthy-campus featuring men on campus taking a stand against sexual violence and offering up advice on how to be more active as leaders for change in the community.
“Selkirk College is changing the conversation around sexual violence on campus and in our community,” says President Angus Graeme. “This video is part of a larger commitment to creating a safe and healthy learning environment – and part of that is challenging problematic ideas about masculinity.”
The video stars Graeme, Dean Rhys Andrews, Nursing Program alumnus David Felton, Bob Kalmakoff captured in the maintenance shop along with Selkirk Saints alumnus Ashton McLeod and Arie Postmus. Human Services Instructor Matty Hillman, also an anti-violence educator, speaks to the importance of men leading this change.
“Violence against women is a men’s issue and men are responsible for stopping it,” he says. “Rape culture and male privilege are deeply embedded in our society – something we can no longer dismiss.”
The Saints alumnus highlight the responsibility athletes have as positive role models emphasizing the importance of “holding themselves to a high premium” and being respectful in their community.
“Growing up playing competitive sports, you are under the microscope all the time. It can be as little as posting a simple Instagram picture that can get you in trouble,” says McLeod.
Themes of respect for others along with self-respect and empowerment over control are important messages from the mouths of men who issue a call to stand up and “say that’s not okay.”
“Men have had such a dominant role in society for so long, we are in a good position to start saying hey, this isn’t okay,” says Felton. “We need to stop. We need to talk about this. We need to slow down and say, ‘what about these issues are wrong and how can we prevent this from happening in the future.”
Find out ways to get involved in Sexual Violence Prevention Month.