Brock implements new strategies to prevent sexual assault

Allison Cadwallader and Alana Sharpe / Rounaq Chabra

After last years’ sexual violence incident created an uproar on campus, Brock University is continuing to take steps forward to make improvements for students, staff and community.

Earlier in September, the university hired a Sexual Violence Response and Education Coordinator. Allison Cadwallader has been on the job for a month now as her role at Brock will be to provide support to those affected by sexual violence. She will also offer education and training on sexual violence prevention and response.

“My position is to consult based on my expertise in sexual violence,” said Cadwallader. “My hopes are that I can put something in place that inspires the students to continue to be involved and put energy towards an educational plan.”

Cadwallader most recently worked at the University of Windsor and the Sarnia Sexual Assault Survivors’ Centre, where she gained experience in the area of sexual violence prevention and support to survivors of sexual violence.

“I don’t want to be the face of this,” said Cadwallader about her role and goals coming to Brock. “I want the students to be the driving force and the face of this work.”

Once an educational plan is put in place, which is expected to be finalized soon, it will be about students taking the initiative to learn how to work with the program and implement it within the community, according to Cadwallader.

A month into her position, Cadwallader believes the experience has been positive. The feedback she has received about her role is positive and she has been able to meet many new people. Through her first month she has been able to understand the expectations and has been able to share her plans.

Cadwallader will be working alongside Alana Sharpe in the Human Rights and Equity office.

“The office of Human Rights and Equity looks at any complaints or reports of harassment and discrimination within the university,” said Sharpe. “[Cadwallader] and I will be working together where she’ll be focusing on preventing and responding to reports of sexual violence.”

Both women repeated that they wanted students to get involved with them to improve the educational outreach on campus.

“The Sexual Assault Prevention Committee, which is a group that works towards ending sexual violence, will be an ongoing committee,” said Sharpe. “Through that committee we work on educational outreach, support services as well as policy updates. We really want to encourage students to come out and have a voice on that committee, because that’s where a lot of these ideas are being generated and implemented.”

“Sort of the guiding principles of the committee right now is student voice,” added Cadwallader. “We don’t have a large student body within the community right now, so that’s what we are looking into.”

Both Cadwallader and Sharpe understand it is still early in the year and students are settling into the new school year, but hope to see students get involved.

Students can get involved in the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee by emailing Cadwallader to set up a meeting.

The focus on creating a Sexual Assault Prevention Committee comes after news broke in March about Brock professor David Shimmelpenninck van der Oye allegedly sexually harassed a graduate student.

Many students spoke up and protested the way Brock had handled the situation. With the new committee students can now voice their concern and help improve the issue around Brock.

Cadwallder will be someone for students to come speak to as she is hired to consult with students and members of Brock.

“My hopes are that I can put something in place that really inspires the students to continue to be involved and put that energy towards an educational plan,” said Cadwallader.

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