Supporting one another and raising awareness on sexual assault

January 18, 2021

I hope that all of you had a restful break and a smooth transition into the Spring semester. I wanted to take some time today to highlight something very important to the whole SFU community.

January is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every January, SFU’s Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO) collaborates with partners across the SFU and Fraser International College (FIC) communities to raise awareness about sexual violence. It provides an opportunity for SFU and FIC students, faculty and staff to engage with this complex topic in meaningful ways.

This year, SAAM has a particular focus on Black, Indigenous and Peoples of Colour (BIPOC). In light of some of the difficult moments that we’ve witnessed in recent memory, this presents an opportunity to pay close attention to the intersections between racism and sexism. It requires all of us to ask very important questions: How can I support BIPOC voices? What individual and collective actions can we take to create safe, equitable, and just communities? How can we eliminate sexual violence? And how can I contribute to this conversation?

Here are some ways to get involved:

Share a message of care and support for survivors of sexual violence: You are invited to share a short message of care and support for survivors of sexual violence. The purpose is to provide messages that are poignant and uplifting, without trivializing individual experiences of trauma and healing. Your short message, along with others, will be turned into a digital art piece that will be available for survivors. Learn more about that project here, and submit your message by Thursday, January 21.

Attend an upcoming event: The SVSPO, along with their partners, are hosting a series of events that focus on BIPOC voices. This includes talks and readings from BIPOC writers, a trivia event, and a student-led event for students that focuses on consent. Event descriptions and registration information can be found here.

Sport a SAAM button: In partnership with Campus Public Safety, the SVSPO has created some buttons that raise awareness about SAAM They will be worn and distributed by COVID19_Safety Ambassador Team (CAT) members. If you are at the Surrey campus, you can pick up your own button at the security desk at the SRYC (main) building, or from the CAT members in common areas. Learn more about this initiative here.

Keep in touch with the SVSPO all year round: The SVSPO does incredible work for our university community. Throughout COVID, the SVSPO continues to provide drop-in hours online as well as events and workshops. Aside from their website, you can follow the SVSPO on Facebook and Instagram

Here at SFU Surrey, we are especially excited that Belinda Karsen will be available to support students, staff and faculty in these ways.

As we take time to pause and reflect on how we can meaningfully contribute to this ongoing conversation of how we can eliminate sexual violence, I know that SAAM will provide all of us with a great first step. I stand with you all today and always as we move forward together in dialogue, learning, and taking action.