Accountability for Sexual Harassment at University of Victoria Athletics Centre (CARSA)
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Sexual harassment is a regular occurrence at CARSA, a university gym. For example, I've had men staring at me at the gym, looking me up and down, looking at and in between my legs, looking down my top, looking at my ass as I'm working out, and/or turning around to look at my ass when I walk by. Most of these men seem to come from outside the student community, and appear to prey on the young women who go to this gym.
CARSA does not do anything about sexual harassment. When I told a sexual harasser to fuck off, my membership was suspended for a month by Michelle Peterson, Associate Director of CARSA, but he was free to go.
Michelle Peterson has told me to phone Security when I'm sexually harassed. When I did, Security hesitated, stalled, and let this guy walk right out of the gym without even talking to him. In contrast, on a different occasion, another guy who watches me in the gym tried to intimidate me by calling Security on me, accusing me of taking photos of him in the gym. I did not take any photos. Security and Michelle Peterson both had no problem approaching me in the gym and asking to look through my phone to see if I had indeed taken photos of this creepy middle-aged white guy.
I have been told by 4 different UVic Security guards that sexual harassment is not illegal, and if a guy does not touch me or talk to me, they would not even go talk to him. Two Security guards that came together told me that if I were to phone the police, the police would not do anything either because sexual harassment is not against the law.
Let's make CARSA a safer and more comfortable place for women. Make CARSA accountable for the rampant, unregulated sexual harassment that occurs there. CARSA's solution was to make an even stricter dress code, which condones rape culture. The stricter dress code has not stopped sexual harassment from continuing. Sexual harassment needs to be addressed at CARSA, and the sexual harassers need to be punished, not the victims.
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