SFU History Alumni Work to Ensure that #consentmatters

December 07, 2016

History alumni and former SFU Clan athletes Rebecca Langmead and Ryan Yewchin are eager to talk about the wonderful and challenging opportunities SFU has provided them and how this inspired them to give back to the university.

Both Langmead and Yewchin are active in #consentmattersSFU, a university-wide educational campaign that provides a space for students to have conversations about sexual violence, learn more about available support resources, and dispel myths surrounding sexual assault.

Langmead currently works for SFU’s Heath & Counseling and Campus Safety & Security Services to promote sexual violence education, prevention, and response. She says her history education informs her work, enabling her to see how violence is rooted in our Canadian historical context and how it continues to play out in today's world.

Yewchin is currently an SFU Professional Development Program student, studying to become a high school social studies teacher. He says his history education allows him to interpret the role institutions play in shaping the environments around them.

In July of 2015, Yewchin travelled to Indianapolis where he represented the 11 Student Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) that are part of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) of the NCAA, in which SFU is a member. A portion of this conference exposed these student athlete representatives to the U.S. It’s On Us campaign and supported them in spearheading sexual violence programs on their own campuses.

In the fall of 2015, Langmead and Health and Counseling’s Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects Advisor Lisa Ogilvie began the campus-wide sexual violence campaign #consentmattersSFU with the goal of raising awareness about sexual violence and educating community members about available support services in the event of a sexual assault.

Shortly after Yewchin’s return, he and Langmead met to discuss how student athletes could contribute to #consentmattersSFU, ensuring the content was appropriate for a Canadian context. The result was the SFU Clan’s public service announcement video featuring student athletes urging community involvement in sexual violence prevention and showcasing SFU’s sexual violence website. The video launched the campaign in January, receiving over 2000 views on YouTube and 4000 views on Facebook.

This past September, SFU partnered with the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) and the BC Lions to bring their nationally recognized program Be More than a Bystander to the SFU Clan. Through presentations and teaching, Langmead and Ogilvie armed athletics and recreation staff with tools to both identify sexual violence and support students who have been affected.

The collaboration between Langmead and Yewchin provided the bedrock for further engagement, both within SFU and beyond, and sexual violence education continues to be delivered to the entire campus community. This past September and October, Langmead and Ogilvie delivered a number of presentations to students, staff, and faculty aimed at increasing understanding of consent, rape culture, bystander intervention, and how to respond to disclosures. The second iteration of #consentmattersSFU was launched during this time, featuring three videos that engage in myth-busting, consent, and support available at SFU.

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