Brock’s Human Rights and Equity educate on consent

Photo credit: Neonbrand on Unsplash

Photo credit: Neonbrand on Unsplash

Brock’s Human Rights and Equity (HRE) team works towards educating and helping students deal with issues concerning sexual violence and consent. 

HRE is a group on campus that assists students in human rights issues.

“We do different events on campus such as our workshop series to spread awareness about different human rights issues through a sexual violence lens. We want to have an intersectional perspective. We want to educate the Brock community and make people aware there are many resources on and off-campus,” said Julianna Todd, a peer to peer support team member for HRE.

Although the Bob Ross Paint Night was cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19, the topic of consent and sexual violence remains important. 

“We wanted to give students the opportunity to participate in a fun and safe social event on St. Patrick’s Day that was on campus and we thought a Bob Ross Paint Night would be a lot of fun and we could have a discussion about consent as well during the event,” said Todd. 

HRE offers a drop-in centre at Welch Hall 05, which is open every Monday to Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Students can drop in and talk to the peer to peer team members about any concerns surrounding sexual violence. 

“[The Welch Hall Drop-in centre] is a great place to make a disclosure if [students] are unsure about what to do next in the situation or maybe they heard something in the hallway or something happened to a friend. If they just need a starting place. Our centre is the perfect place to start,” said Todd.

At their events, like the Bob Ross Paint Night, they offer an open and welcoming space to discuss what constitutes consent and allow students to ask any questions they may have.

“Students have a lot of questions about consent and what constitutes consent and how they can give and get support surrounding these issues, so we want to have an open discussion with them in a safe and inclusive space. Such conversations around this are important because it gives people a chance to reflect on their own experiences and perspectives, but to also listen and learn from others,” said Todd.

Other topics they can discuss with peers include what consent is and the university’s policy on sexual violence. According to Todd, HRE wants to educate students about what they can do if they experience sexual violence or if someone in their life is experiencing it.  

“We at [HRE] always have a survivor lead process when we are dealing with sexual violence. [Which means] the person who discloses chooses how they would like to proceed. So whether that is making an anonymous disclosure or they want to chat about it or informal and formal procedures. We never decide for them what path they should take,” said Todd.

At a recent event, HRE teamed up with The Hub to Unblur the lines to help educate students about that uncertain line between partying and consent. It is important to hold events like these to help educate students about sexual violence.

“I think when students are empowered with this knowledge several things can happen. They can engage in discussion with their peers, in both social and academic setting, and they can have an understanding of the resources available. I think that is very important. The more education students get the more the culture can change,” said Todd.

For more information, students can visit HRE’s website at brocku.ca/human-rights/sexual-violence/ and view Brock’s sexual assault and harassment policies at brocku.ca/policies/.

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