This week’s action item was an article and petition via globalcitizen.org. The article shed light on the shocking statistic that of the 193 United Nations member states, 68 do not have any laws prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, leaving an estimated 235 million women vulnerable to harassment with no avenues to seek justice. The corresponding petition called on world leaders to redouble their efforts by amending laws to prevent sexual violence. The call to action read in part:
“We call on your government to comprehensively review and amend, in consultation with survivors and women’s rights organizations, all laws, policies and procedures relating to rape and sexual assault. Such policies and procedures must be survivor centered, non-discriminatory and sufficiently resourced to ensure women and girls’ access to justice.”
“We also call on your government to comprehensively review all its laws and policies to ensure removal of all remaining sex discrimination. Legal equality gives women and girls a level playing field from which to make their own choices, build their capabilities and achieve their hopes and dreams. This positively affects the whole of society as recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by governments at the United Nations in 2015.”
Some 200 Million Women Work Without Laws Against Sexual Harassment
This Week’s Conversation
Forum began with a bit of background information regarding sexual assault and harassment on campus and in the workplace. Here are some of the fast facts:
- One in five young women will experience some form of sexual assault during their time at college or university, while one in three women between the ages of 18 and 34 have experienced sexual harassment at work.
- On the whole only approximately 29% of women ever report the harassment
- Kingston has the highest rate of sexual assault per capita in Canada
We then examined a case study which followed the journey of a Queen’s University student dealing with the aftermath of her sexual assault on campus.
The article highlighted some systematic issues within Queen’s which allow perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment to assume leadership positions within the University and force survivors to relive their trauma far more than is necessary.
After reading this case study aloud as a group we discussed various ways in which Queen’s, both as an employer and as a University can improve it’s policies towards sexual assault and harassment to take a more proactive, survivor-centred, approach to dealing with such issues. Ideas included more sensitivity training for students and staff in positions of leadership, expanding Queen’s counselling services, and streamlining the reporting process for sexual assault and harassment to limit the number of times a survivor must recount their story.
The takeaway from this week is that sexual assault and harassment remain prevalent issues around the globe and our campus is no exception. The institutional policies surrounding sexual misconduct have massive impacts on the experiences of both the survivors and perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment. We therefore must continuously re-examine such policies and work towards creating safer spaces for us all from the top down.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or harassment and is seeking help there are resources available.
Sexual assault centre Kingston: 24/7 Crisis Line:
Queen’s Sexual Health Resource Centre:
JCUD room 223
Sexual Assault/ Family Violence Unit KGH:
613-549-6666 ext. 4880 24/7
Queen’s Counselling Services:
613-533-6000 ext. 78264
AMS Peer Support Centre:
JDUC room 34
613-533-6000 ext. 32737
FORUM: TUESDAYS @ 5:30 / JOHN ORR, JDUC
“Our goal with forum is to provide a safe, informative, judgement free space to discuss a variety of issues within development. We want everyone who comes to forum to feel comfortable expressing themselves in whatever way they see most fit. No question is too simple or too complex and you will never be judged for trying to grow in your understanding. While it is important to recognize that words carry with them a certain weight, it is also crucial that we remember everyone here is coming from vastly different backgrounds with varying degrees of development knowledge but that we all share a common desire to learn, grow, and make a difference.”