First year brings many new experiences. For students who are moving in to residence for the first time, this new living situation is incredibly exciting – New people, a new city, new friends, and a whole new life style. Not to mention that growing pile of homework that just doesn’t seem to do itself.
With all of the events, activities, sports, parties, and friendships that are made during this first year, living in residence may seem like a haven.
While this may be the case, we must also remember the realities of campus life, especially those that are tough to think about. UBC is an amazing campus, full of life and community. This, however, does not make it immune to the realities of everyday life. Sexualized violence is one of those things that is hard to talk about, hard to think about, and yet happens everywhere in the world.
Sexualized violence is any form of unwanted sexual contact, as well as name-calling, sexual humiliation, and sexual targeting. In Canada, an estimated 1 in every 4 women, and 1 in every 8 men will experience some form of sexualized violence in their lifetime. (trans folks, especially trans women, face similar or higher numbers of instances of violence).
Also, the majority of sexual assaults reported to police are by individuals between the ages 15-24.
There are many myths about sexual assault. One of the most commonly held myths is that sexual assaults are always committed by a stranger. This can be true, but is almost always false. Over 86% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows. Living in a small community, like the UBC residences, can make this fact even more difficult, as it can be hard to find someone you can trust to talk to about it.So, as you enter your year at UBC, the SASC would like to leave you with a few tips on having a safe, successful year at UBC.
- Practice informed consent.
- Communicate with your partner/date about safe sex, what their allergies are, what their preferences are, etc.
- If you are not sure about what your partner/date wants, stop and ask.
- Know that you can say no at any time during a sexual encounter. Just because you said yes to kissing, doesn’t mean you have agreed to anything else.
- If you know a friend who has experienced sexual assault, be a supportive friend. Don’t pressure them to tell their story. Remember that not everyone wants to report the incident to Police.
- Inform yourself about common myths and facts about sexual assault.
- if you have experienced any form of sexualized violence, know that it is not your fault.
- You can come in to the SASC for support, even if it happened today, yesterday, or years ago.
- Talking about sex might seem awkward, but in reality it is the best way to have a good time with your partner(s)/date. If you want to have the best sexual experience, you must be able to communicate what you want (and don’t want). Also, you want your partner/date to have a good time, and to make sure they’re enjoying it, you can check it with them and ask what they need/want.
**you may notice that these tips look different from other ‘safety tips’. This is because our society consistently blames the survivor for the assault, rather that the assailant (or perpetrator). All too often, ‘safety tips’ tell women what to wear, what to do, what to avoid and so on, rather than telling people not to commit sexual assault! Here is a nice list of ‘safety tips’ that are play with this infuriating victim blaming logic that mainstream media spreads
This blog has been written by a SASC Outreach Worker – firstname.lastname@example.org