Today’s Times Colonist ran an article about the sexual assault of a University of Victoria student last Friday night. Apparently, she was picked up at the intersection of Cedar Hill Cross Rd and Cedar Hill on Friday night and was assaulted over the course of the next few hours. In the article ( http://tinyurl.com/47tw3a7 ), Stephanie Capyk, who is an employee of Victoria’s Women’s Sexual Assault Centre, noted that 10 sexual assaults have taken place during the last ten day.s
I read this article, while I was having my breakfast this morning. I had to stop eating and re-read the article. First, my heart goes out to the survivors of each of the ten plus sexual assaults. We need to acknowledge that these numbers are low, as so many will not report the crime. Secondly, I want to tip my hat to Katie DeRosa, the Times Colonist reporter, who made a point of including the following quote by Capyk, “”It’s about educating men to challenge the core beliefs that allow sexualized violence to occur.” The rhetoric about sexual assault is usually one that makes only women responsible and we often forget that men are culpable here. I’m not setting all men up as the evil perpetrators. No, what I mean is that we need to educate men about sexual assault, so that they are allies in dropping the numbers.We need more people to understand what constitutes sexual assault and that jokes about violence against women are unacceptable. What I am suggesting is reframing the way we think about violence, sexuality, and sexual assault.
The data in the US and Canada demonstrates the vast majority of sexual assaults are not the “stranger” rape situation, but instead fit the date rape or acquaintance rape designation. That is, most girls and women are assaulted by someone who they already know. The term is about to end and the grad parties are coming up as well as other parties. I hope that the students on campus and young people throughout Victoria are safe. Together we can make a difference. Take care of yourself and be on the watch for those around you.