Making Universities Safe for Women: Sexual Assault on Campus
Previously published as a chapter in Wayne Antony, Jessica Antony & Les Samuelson, eds. Power and Resistance: Critical Thinking About Canadian Social Issues, 6th ed (Black Point, NS: Fernwood 2017) 260-284.
75 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 3, 2017
Sexual assault perpetrated by men in Canada constitutes a major barrier to women’s freedom, security of the person and their right to equality before and under the law. Women students in post-secondary institutions suffer additional consequences beyond the trauma and chaos of rape: they may be unable to avoid the perpetrator if he shares a residence, classes, activities or even campus routes; their academic success will be imperiled such that they may fail their courses or be forced to withdraw from their programs; and they face financial penalties of wasted tuition, loss of Teaching and Research Assistantships and the costs of counseling. Men’s sexual violence thus has material consequences for women’s access to educational equity. This chapter will situate campus sexual assault on the current political agenda in Canada and the United States (US); review the data on men’s commission of sexual assault both off and on campus; describe the criminal law of sexual assault; outline the many obstacles women face in the legal processing of sexual assault reports when they turn to the criminal justice system; examine the processes available to women on campus in Canada, including sexual harassment policies and student codes of conduct, pointing out the perils of both; and identify three challenges that universities and colleges face in developing and defending campus sexual violence policies.
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