OurTurn’s seuxal assault survey to spark change
author: taylor balfour | news writer
D+ isn’t even a pass / Jeremy Davis
A year after the U of R’s D+ grade, OurTurn continues to fight for change
Sexual assault across university campuses, especially at the beginning of the school year, is the highest time of risk for women, according to the Canadian Federation of Students [CFS] in Ontario. They state that “many on-campus sexual assaults occur during the first eight weeks of classes.”
They also state that “more than 80 per cent of rapes that occur on college and university campuses are committed by someone known to the victim, with half of these incidents occurring on dates.”
These statistics, and the rates of sexual assaults on university campuses, are what OurTurn is hoping to change.
“OurTurn is a student-led initiative to address the shortcomings of the university’s policies in addressing sexual violence on campus,” Magdalena Bouwer, a member of the OurTurn Taskforce, states.
Bouwer details as to what the history of OurTurn is, and why the creation came to be.
“In the fall of 2017, the OurTurn National Action Plan, a national, student-led, movement to end sexual violence on post-secondary campuses, reviewed the University of Regina’s sexual assault policies and awarded this campus the letter grade of D,” she explained. “The OurTurn report identified several areas where our campus sexual assault policies fell short.”
The Carillon ran a story in October of 2017 about the D+ grade the University of Regina had been given. The average grade for a Canadian university was a C-, with the highest grade of a B- given to Carleton University in Ottawa.
“Following the report in 2017, it was clear that the current policies surrounding sexual violence were not adequate,” Bouwer states. “Therefore, students came together to understand, explore, and change the way our university views, responds to, and supports victims of sexual violence “
So, what is OurTurn doing now for the U of R?
“On October 15, 2018, we will be releasing a survey which will be available to all current and former UofR students,” Bouwer explained.
“This survey provides tangible data that will allow us to understand how sexual violence, and the policies surrounding it, impact students on campus.”
Regina Public Interest Research Group [RPIRG] discussed with the Carillon in September, 2018 that OurTurn was to be an online survey that any U of R student could log on and fill out anonymously.
“Our hope is that this initiative will not only result in changes within the administration of the university, but will also foster change within our community,” Bouwer said.“We hope to gain an understanding of past incidents and experiences, to ensure that all victims have adequate support, as well as to minimize the possibility for future incidents.”
The U of R has continued with other initiatives to make sexual assault on campus aware, such as setting up The Red Zone in Fall of 2017, as well as campaigning Man Up Against Violence weeks.
“Our vision is to use this data not only to make informative recommendations for policy change, but also to shed light on the realities of sexual violence in our campus community,” said Bouwer.