Everything’s fine on campus…or is it? 

A photo of the Campus Security building in the Research and Innovation Centre on the University of Regina campus.
That plant makes me feel so safe, I feel like I can tell it all my problems. lee lim

A step-by-step on what to do when you are getting harassed on campus 

When everything isn’t fine: am I being harassed?  

The Criminal Code of Canada defines harassment under section 264.2 as behaviour that includes repeatedly following, communicating with, threatening, and watching the other person at their home and/or workplace. The Code says that harassment “causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.” As the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (CRCVC) explains, this behaviour is “not a sign of love; it is about power and abuse.” 

The CRCVC is right; harassment is not about love but power, and its abuse. There is a strong link between criminal harassment and domestic violence. According to the CRVC, 57 per cent of stalkers are intimate or ex-intimate partners of victims. Most victims know their stalkers. 

Criminal harassment has the potential to escalate into violence. The American non-profit anti-sexual assault organization Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) says that women on college campuses are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than robbed. This potential for escalation is, in part, what makes harassment so terrifying.  

Some folks on university campuses do not understand healthy boundaries, do not respect “no” as no, and do not expect any consequences for their actions. They walk among us, only they are not aliens, and you and I are not Dana Scully and Fox Mulder about to uncover some blood-curdling truths from a basement office. 

So, are you being harassed? If you have made it clear to someone that you do not want to speak with them and they continue to follow you, communicate with you or anyone known to you, or watch over your dwelling – you are being harassed. 

Glittery diaries, locks, and explicit details: your guide to good record-keeping.  

Not-so-fun fact: a study on the sexual victimization of college women conducted by Bonnie S. Fisher, Francis T. Cullen, and Michael G. Turner in 2000 revealed that “fewer than 5 per cent of completed and attempted rapes were reported to law enforcement officials. In about two-thirds of the rape incidents, however, the victim did tell another person about the incidents. Most often this person was a friend, not a family member or college official.”  

Harassment may be a precursor to violent assaults, so it is important to file a report to have an official record of what has happened and get a safe intervention before it can escalate. If you have determined that you may be the victim of harassment, make a physical record of it. 

If you find yourself questioning whether or not a situation or experience that seemed off is part of the problem, the possibility is there so make sure to write it down. Good record-keeping is important because while John Doe at the front desk is probably not going to tell you that everything is fine and no action can be taken, crazier things have happened (I mean, have you seen the X-Files?). It is much harder for John Doe to tell you nothing’s wrong if you have a record of all the things that are wrong.  

This is not to say you have to lug around a little glittery diary with one of those tiny locks to hold all the explicit details. All you need is a document to keep logs of instances you’d like to report. I included sections for dates, times, the description of the incident, witness names, and evidence. I also reused the template over and over again to record every instance. Stalkingawareness.org has a free stalking incident and behaviour log.  

See something, say something: what to do when it’s time to talk. 

While Campus Security is not the be-all-end-all, it is a good place to start when you’d like to file a formal report. A report can be in person at the Campus Security office in the Research and Innovation Centre or over the phone at 306-585-4999.  

Campus Security also offers the option to report online, with the added option to remain anonymous. The online reporting portal allows you to forward your report directly to Campus Security; Health, Safety, Wellness; the University Sexual Assault Coordinator; or Respectful University Services. 

If you are dealing with harassment on campus, you will likely be put into contact with the University of Regina’s (U of R) Respectful University Services for support in resolving the issue.  

Advocating for yourself and your issue is important and a good first step, but make sure to bring a friend or trusted person to help with the process. An added benefit of reporting is that Campus Security and Respectful University Services will have documentation of the incidents. 

Campus Security is open 24/7, so you can report at any time. If you are reporting in-person, printing off your statement and records could help reduce the stress and pressure. The answers to Campus Security’s questions will likely already be in your papers, so you will not have to memorize dates or times.  

When you think that something’s wrong, don’t be discouraged – trust your gut feeling. As I said before, John Doe at the front desk is probably not going to tell you that everything’s fine and no action can be taken – but crazier things have happened (am I allowed to tell you to go watch the X-files again?).   

Speaking of record-keeping, when you talk to John Doe at Campus Security, make sure to record that, too. Include the date, time, and an audio file of the conversation. Keep it all.  

When the dust settles. 

For me, the process from start to finish took almost a month. I chose not to file a police report, but this is almost always an option. The most important thing to keep in mind throughout the whole process, though, is to keep yourself and your well-being as the top priority.  

In addition to the U of R’s Student Wellness Centre, students can contact the CRCVC for emotional support or a referral to a counsellor. Remember, you are never alone. 


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