Education key to dealing with societal shifts around sexual violence
By Karin Pokrishevsky
Society is constantly evolving and so are attitudes toward sexual violence.
Through education, society can develop the tools to respond appropriately and meet challenges head-on, says the director of SFU’s Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO).
The office opened its doors in February in response to SFU’s new sexual misconduct policy. Director CJ Rowe works with case managers and educators to spread awareness and education across all campuses.
The SVSPO advises and supports the entire SFU community: staff, faculty and students. Embracing a survivor-centered and trauma-informed approach, the office is open to people impacted by sexual violence and to individuals who are curious to know more. Case managers and educators are not bound to the Burnaby campus office and can meet where it is most comfortable and convenient for clients.
“Our goal is to engage with larger social change,” says Rowe, who came to SFU following a stint as executive director of Qmunity, a Vancouver-based resource centre for queer, trans and two-spirit people. “Inviting all members of our community, we work towards ending sexual violence.”
The SVSPO creates personalized, confidential care plans for people. This includes referrals to on-campus support and services as well as to provincial, national and global community partners. With confidentiality as one of its tenets, the office ensures that client information is not released to any outside organizations unless the client first grants permission.
“We want to provide the appropriate academic accommodations to our clients,” says Rowe. “We work with our clients to find the best resources for their needs and to help them make informed decisions about their care.”
To raise awareness of its services and resources, the office uses posters and digital signs. There are also tailored workshops for students, staff and faculty and yearly campaigns, such as #consentmatterssfu and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, that provide the university community with many different learning opportunities.
Overall, says Rowe, “The SVSPO strives to provide the appropriate resources and facilitate an open conversation about topics that may affect staff, faculty and students at SFU.”
SFU’s Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office:
Get in touch:
Diamond Alumni Centre, Room 014 (lower level)
Monday/ Thursday 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Tuesday/ Wednesday 1:30-3:30 p.m.