Concordia develops leaders in sexual assault prevention
This year, Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) is expanding its prevention and education work to more groups on campus, including workshops for varsity athletes and coaches from the Concordia Stingers Athletics teams.
Jennifer Drummond, coordinator at SARC, is delighted that the Department of Athletics and Recreation is implementing the workshops on sexual violence prevention, because student athletes have a high profile on campus. “They’re in a position to set an example, not only for their teammates but for other students as well.”
SARC has trained 20 facilitators to offer the two-and-a-half-hour workshop, titled “Leaders in Prevention”. “We’re going to cover how students can play a role in preventing sexual violence through leadership, role modeling, bystander intervention and consent awareness,” Drummond says.
A harm-reduction training program, developed at the request of student leaders, was delivered by the Dean of Students Office to all orientation and frosh student leaders, staff and volunteers. The three-hour mandatory workshop covered topics like first aid, alcohol management and sexual consent.
“This complements the training that the student associations are doing,” explains Andrew Woodall, Concordia’s dean of students. “It is very much a collaborative effort and we are supporting these student leaders by giving them knowledge and tools so they can create a safe environment on campus, especially during frosh and orientation activities.”
With the expansion of its programs, SARC is now also seeking more volunteers to deliver them. To become qualified, volunteers must complete 20 hours of training in support skills and topics related to sexual violence.
As Anna Kozlowski, SARC’s new volunteer coordinator explains, the training will teach volunteers about the underlying causes of sexual violence, anti-oppression, active listening, support skills, medical and legal system responses to sexual assault survivors and the resources available on and off campus.
“It prepares volunteers to provide support to survivors and to build awareness in the Concordia community about sexual violence prevention.”
Kozlowski began her social work experience volunteering at a sexual assault centre in Vancouver. “That experience provided me with knowledge that I continue to draw from and that will inspire the training I am developing for the SARC volunteers.”
A new academic year, a new awareness
Drummond says the beginning of the school year is the right time to start to talk about sexual assault. “With frosh and other parties taking place at the start of term, and with many students away from home for the first time, we want to help create awareness.”
Unfortunately, Drummond points out, most people haven’t received quality — if any — sexual education in school or had those important conversations with family and friends when they show up at university. “People shy away from talking about sex and consequently lack knowledge in this area.”
In addition to the program for athletes and coaches, Drummond will also be giving workshops on sexual violence prevention to residence assistants.
“Ask, Listen, Respect: Join the Consent Conversation”
SARC’s awareness campaign on consent aims to give students the tools, strategies and specific language to better communicate and check-in with their partners.
Drop by information tables at the upcoming Discover Concordia orientation events taking place on the Loyola Campus and Sir George Williams Campus from September 2 to 4. You’ll be able to pick up materials that explain how to start a consent conversation that focuses on asking and respecting your partner’s wishes.
Drop by SARC during office hours to access a range of helpful information and support. SARC offers workshops by request, on topics including bystander intervention, consent and supporting survivors.