Whitehorse Daily Star

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Colleen Wirth

Sexualized violence prevention policy unveiled

Yukon College has adopted a new sexualized violence prevention and response policy.

By Whitehorse Star on September 13, 2018

Yukon College has adopted a new sexualized violence prevention and response policy.

The new policy and response procedures provide a clear pathway for the disclosure, reporting and investigation of sexualized violence, the institution said in a statement.

It also commits the college to taking a “trauma-informed and co-ordinated approach in responding to and addressing disclosures,” the college said.

The new policy will see the college co-ordinate ongoing education and prevention efforts to counter rape culture, promote a culture of informed consent and reduce the risk of incidences of sexualized violence.

Along with the policy is a list of community supports available to anyone who may have experienced sexual violence. 

“We must do much more to educate the college community about informed consent and promote a culture of safety,” said Colleen Wirth, the director of Student and Infrastructure Support.

“National statistics indicate that 20 per cent of female students experience sexualized violence while in post-secondary education, which would translate to approximately 145 female Yukon College students.” 

“Incidents of sexualized violence in our society too often go undisclosed and unreported,” added Michael Hale, the college’s chief administrative officer.

“Our goal is to reduce barriers for anyone in the college community disclosing or reporting an incident of sexualized violence.

“As well as support the individual in their own decision-making process—if and how they might choose to disclose, and which supports they may choose to access or external processes they may choose to pursue.”

Over the past three years, the college said, it has followed the national conversation around this issue closely.

Staff have learned from institutions cited as having developed best practices, and have reached out to students, employees, the RCMP and community organizations for feedback on multiple policy drafts.

“In this instance, the policy development process has taken longer than expected,” said said Wirth.

“This is a complex issue, and in recent years, the conversation around how our society and post-secondary institutions address and respond to sexualized violence has been dynamic and evolving.

“We have learned a lot and have incorporated our research into this new policy,” added Wirth.

“What we know from survivor stories is that how well we handle this challenging process is a major factor in whether the student can continue their education and successfully achieve their life goals,” said Wally Rude, the registrar and dean of Enrolment Services. 

The college is rolling out a comprehensive plan to educate and inform students and employees about sexualized violence, consent, and college-specific and community supports.

The plan includes consent workshops for students this month. Those sessions have been part of orientation activities at Ayamdigut campus since 2014.

As well, the college has purchased Bringing in the Bystander training and will hold workshops for staff and students this term. 

This policy is a living document. The policy, procedures and support information will be reviewed after a year and updated if necessary, based upon feedback received from students, employees and the wider community, as well as evolving best practices across Canadian post-secondary institutions. 

Comments (5)

Up 6 Down 3

Josey Wales on Sep 18, 2018 at 8:29 pm

Hey MO...true that, unfortunately.
Based on my time observing the social and basic moral decay since the PC Crusade began, along with its minion the radical 2nd and 3rd wave “feminist movement” it leaves me with this admittedly jaded opinion...

Not just off to college MO, but trying to actually be a young man figuring it all out in today’s lunacy?
Even a bigger strike besides being a mars today, is too be a pigment challenged a.k.a white young man in training.
Guilty of near everything until proven innocent...even then still, including historical baggage, getting barked at for holding doors YES that happens, defence is construed to dissent and hostility....blah blah....Blah.
Given that sugar and spice is not always so nice, yes MO it is like snowshoeing through a mine field in the lunacy of “the current year”
If you wish it to stop, call all zealots out regardless of identity, and stop voting for self proclaimed feminist soyboys like fancy socks whom are orchestrating the absolute clear insanity that both feeds toxic Marxists and attempts to set the “new normal” also commonly referred as by moi ever so chronic like...social engineering.
SE is cancer, our society requires serious radiation to rid us of it.
Is it possible that we may agree, yet again MO?

Up 10 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Sep 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

"Sexualized violence prevention policy " I visited the Yukon College website hoping to read the policy, all I found was the media announcement and three smiling faces obviously proud of their announcement. I invite them to continue this warm/fuzzy feeling by kindfully explaining how the prevention part will function. I read lots of positive general comments that list what will be included in the workshops, but not much substance beyond the showroom pitch. Who developed the 'product'? Who will deliver it and what are their qualifications? I firmly believe this public education is needed so as to protect women of all ages from sexual assault and I hope it is not only the politically-correct version being offered but it also has some real world scenarios like when it's time for you to stop drinking and leave the party. Responsibility is the best prevention.

Up 7 Down 3

My Opinion on Sep 18, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Good Lord. I would hate to be a young man going off to College these days.

Up 6 Down 6

Irwin M. Fletcher on Sep 15, 2018 at 10:22 pm

Why is the College investigating sexualized violence? This is concerning.
Given the recent controversy over the high rates of unfounded sexual assaults by the RCMP are they really the best resource to take advice from?

Hopefully the Yukon does not end up with a Wilfrid Laurier/Lindsay Sheperd type scenario.

Then there is the tired old idea of a “Rape Culture”. This is a feminist social construction through which the feminist movement has instantiated alternative “rape myths” to support the notion of a “Rape Culture”. The arguments used to support the idea of a “Rape Culture” are spurious at best. Sexualized violence is problematic and a pressing social concern however “Rape Culture” is a fiction:

Feminist scholars and authors have offered a variety of definitions of “rape culture.” The foreword to the 1993 volume of essays, Transforming a Rape Culture, offers the following:

[Rape culture] is a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.[10]

As one can see, this definition is quite broad, ambiguous, and debatable. Does “male sexual aggression” refer to violent and coercive actions, or to sexual pursuit and initiation? Can modern Western societies be said to support violence against women? Does all sexualization of violence, including consensual rough sex and BDSM (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism), amount to “rape culture”? Do most women see sexual remarks as part of a “continuum of threatened violence” (and how can rape itself, which is not threatened but actual violence, be considered part of such a continuum)? What is “emotional terrorism”?

The concept of “rape culture” goes back to the mid-1970s. Susan Brownmiller’s 1975 book, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape portrayed rape as the ultimate act of male terror against women. Brownmiller argued that rape had played a “critical function” in patriarchal history as a form of deliberate terrorism: “It is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.”[11] (Young, 2015).

Retrieved from: https://arcdigital.media/the-rape-culture-myth-5e8f968b5c76

Up 7 Down 6

Max Mack on Sep 15, 2018 at 4:41 pm

An Obama-style Title IX policy that is designed to "believe the victim" (i.e. women) and prosecute men without due process.

I read the Yukon College policy - it has all the blather about due process and natural justice. But, everything in the policy, written within a framework of "rape culture", is designed to support the so-called victim. There are almost no statements in the policy about support for the accused.

The rush to treat all women as victims and all men as perpetrators combined with an overly broad definition of "sexualized violence" and investigations conducted by ideologues will guarantee the mistreatment of men at the hands of kangaroo courts. The place to hear accusations of sexual assault are in the actual courts, not in some play version at the college. At least the courts may offer some semblance of fair play.

Regrettably, the only recourse men will have is to sue the College and the Yukon Government. In many cases, this recourse will be too little, too late.

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