As a group that has been doing anti-sexual assault work on campus since 2007, we’ve had to debunk plenty of myths about sexual assault. More and more, however, we’ve found ourselves having to debunk myths about us.
For this reason, we have put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we get. And so, in no particular order, here is our first attempt at myth busting!
MYTH: The Coalition is against the administration and refuses to work with them.
TRUTH: It has always been a goal of the Coalition to work with Carleton administration to combat gender-based violence on our campus. In fact, our very first action as a Coalition was to hold a referendum question to gauge support for a centre on campus. When students voted over 80% in favour of a student-run, university funded sexual assault centre, we presented these findings to the administration, convinced that we could then work together to iron out details of such a centre. Our proposal for a student-run, university funded sexual assault was denied in 2008 and continues to be denied today.
The Coalition has always tried to hold the university administration accountable for issuing victim-blaming statements, the lack of support services available on campus, and refusing to respond to students’ demands for a sexual assault support centre, but this does not mean we are ‘against the university’.
The Coalition has been meeting with Equity Services for months to discuss sexual violence, gender-based violence, public outreach, and moving forward. In 2010, the Coalition and Equity services put forth a proposal for joint space that would be used to operate a sexual assault support centre. The decision on this space proposal is still pending. Although we wanted to push for a student-run space, we conceded to putting together a joint proposal even though we were not able to discuss the terms of the application or the details of how a joint-space would actually operate.
In a recent meeting, Equity Services agreed to publicize and advertise the Sexual Assault Support Line, operated by the Coalition for a Carleton Sexual Assault Centre. However, not being officially affiliated with the university makes it difficult for us to work with Equity Services or other university administrators. We need space on campus to continue working with the university to put an end to gender-based violence.