Coming Soon: Sexual Assault Centre at SFU

Coming Soon: Sexual Assault Centre at SFU

By: Sonya Reznitsky
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SFU has many well-known organizations that, by the time students like myself begin attending university, have become well entrenched into its history and culture – the Women’s Centre, the Centre for Students with Disabilities, SFPIRG, the Indigenous Student Centre, amongst many others. However, a new organization is currently being developed, presenting an exciting opportunity for students and community members to get involved. A group of students and SFU grads are currently in the process of opening a sexual assault support center (we wrote about this in the fall), and there are many ways to get involved.

Sexual Assault Services Currently Offered

There are a variety of prevention and support services offered to SFU students on the Burnaby campus, but they are not connected by a central organization, and the services that are available do not address every aspect of sexual assault. SFU Security offers safe walks for people who feel uncomfortable walking alone at night, and security patrol guards can contact the police and/or Health Counseling Services for immediate assistance. Health and Counseling offers counseling services for survivors of assault, but their resources are limited – they cannot provide ongoing support since there is such a high volume of students using the centre. The Women’s Centre offers a safe space for women and has books on issues surrounding sexual assault, but it does not address the needs of men. There are also resource books at Out On Campus, but much of it is related back to domestic and relationship abuse. Additionally, legal assistance is limited in that there is only the ombudsman that can be approached if a student feels the university has not fulfilled their policy or mishandled their legal responsibility.

Bringing It All Together

The sexual assault centre would fulfill all these roles, ideally: it would serve all genders, offer a space place to talk to a counselor, and be a center of education on issues surrounding sexual assault, of present and past. Ideally, it would offer legal services as well.

UBC already has such a center, as do many universities across Canada, and I believe this service is extremely important for supporting our community.

Opportunities

If you’d like to help the sexual assault center get up and running, there are a variety of roles you can take.

Volunteers can assist with:

- Graphic design/Advertising
- Website design and updating communications, write ups/letter writing  and editing
- Class room speaks/presnetations (for those who aren’t shy)
- Attending the biweekly meetings on Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30

Not sure how to help? Attend a meeting!

If you’re not sure where you might fit best, you are welcome to attend biweekly meetings. These are held in the Women’s Centre on Thursdays, 12-1. Something as simple as telling your friends about the centre and helping to spread the word is important, too.

If you’d like to apply for one of these positions, please email the Women’s Centre coordinator at womenctr@sfss.ca.

By Sonya Reznitsky

Posted on March 25, 2011