Create Effective Policy, Procedure and Practice To Deal with Sexual and Gendered Violence within the York University Community
This petition had 345 supporters
Hours after a safety planning meeting with York University to deal with my own (alleged) sexual assault on February 23, 2015 York University released a policy for Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention and Response. Despite the newly implemented policy, victims of sexual assault remain uncertain to how sexual assault will be dealt with on campus. The policy is simply inadequate in eradicating or even effectively dealing with sexual and gendered violence.
This petition is to challenge the policy and to demand adequate services and response from York University. As it currently stands, the proposed policy simply re-victimizes and re-traumatizes victims. The suggestions below are my own, and I argue that we need to create an open dialogue amongst victims on campus, whether it was reported to security or not, to eradicate barriers to reporting and challenge the systemic issues embedded within York University that promote sexism, classism, racism and homophobia.
-York University needs to provide clear instruction as to what the protocol is for dealing with sexual violence and explicitly explain under what policy those protocols fall under.
-On campus safety planning needs to be conducted with female-identified and/or LGBTQ staff members who is familiar with interpersonal and sexual violence working within an intersectional feminist framework.
- It is unacceptable that the onus falls upon the victim to change their schedule or commute to accommodate the alleged perpetrator in safety planning. Furthermore, it is unacceptable for women to be expected to discuss the most intimate details of their assault and lives with male administrative or security staff. Following an assault, women may feel uncomfortable being in the presence of men regardless of their status as police officers, security or faculty as someone in a position of trust or authority has often attacked them. It is imperative that there is a female identified individual present during safety planning meetings.
-There is an absence of adequate resources for information regarding the logistics of the accountability procedure. I have discussed this with numerous parties including: Security Services, CUPE 3903, SASSL and my graduate program. While all of these parties may have had my best interest in mind, none were able to provide me with concrete or tangible solutions outside of phone numbers for counselling help lines (I will add that when I did decide to pursue on-campus counselling services because of the outrageous wait times due to significant budget cuts to essential services for victims, it was indicated that York University counselling services would be on an emergency basis for the short-term because of my involvement with the legal system). The proposed policy does not equip York University staff with adequate knowledge on how to proceed following disclosure. The victim is already faced with a great deal of uncertainty, York University should be proactive in providing information on exactly who is involved and a timeline of action.
-The university needs to provide trained experts on campus who are able to assist the victim through the various institutional processes. This may include but not limited to walking the victim through the procedure of attending the hospital and reporting to the justice system, if the victim chooses to do so. Many York University students are not from Toronto and may require assistance with reporting to the police or other relevant authorities. That trained support staff could be present outside of regular office hours to accompany sexual assault victims. This individual would be knowledgeable about criminal and civil law, criminal justice processes, health care for sexual assault survivors and university services and policies.
-Long-term support services may be required for day-to-day activities particularly for students who are unable to attend campus. Tasks such as retrieving library books, photocopying, picking up and dropping off assignments to be marked may be required. These tasks become particularly difficult when a student does not have supports in the community.
- An inquiry into sexual assaults of York University students, staff and faculty beyond simply what has been reported to security services needs to be conducted by an independent third-party. • At every turn I was advised to seek counselling services but the university has refused to facilitate this request. I am therefore forced to pay for counselling services out of pocket, and being subjected to a long waiting list.
-Sexual assault survivors need to be included within the York University community and to be active in the creation and implementation of policy and programming on campus.
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