Lauren Gaudet is one of several volunteers who will be handing out information pamphlets during Sexual Assault and Rape Awareness week at UBC’s Okanagan campus September 30 to October 4.

UBCO students open dialogue about sexual consent and abuse

Be that person” campaign encourages people to stand up against rape culture.

  • Sep. 28, 2013 6:00 a.m.

Inappropriate frosh chants. Cyber-luring and child pornography allegations on trial in Vernon. Tearful recollections of abuse at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Vancouver.

Even before the backdrop of current events, Lauren Gaudet knew that sexual assault and abuse is an issue at many universities. And she says, September is usually the month with the highest incidences reported.

Each September Gaudet is among several students, along with faculty and staff, who organize the Sexual Assault and Rape Awareness (SARA) week at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Volunteers set up tables around campus, and hand out pamphlets and information to educate students, staff, and faculty about a subject often only spoken about in hushed tones. The point of SARA, says Gaudet, is to talk openly about sexual consent, how to be a positive voice against rape culture, and to let people know that support is available for those affected by sexual assault and rape.

“The campaign is called ‘Be That Person,’” says Gaudet. “And we support people who stand up against rape culture, who help their friends get home safely, who inform others that chanting pro-rape lyrics is wrong.”

According to the Canadian organization Act to End Violence Against Women, more than 80 per cent of rapes on university and college campuses are committed by someone the victim knows and many happen in the first eight weeks of classes.

This year the SARA event has partnered with many campus departments such as Health and Wellness, Heat athletic teams, Campus Life, Get Involved, the Aboriginal Student Centre, the Pride Centre, RezLife, and UBCO.TV.

“It has been a great pleasure to work with so many individuals campus-wide to target this serious issue.  Our collective efforts are really speaking to our campus culture where we support ‘being that person’ who stands up against rape culture and is well informed,” says Gaudet.

Along with the health and wellness information and handouts, SARA also has an interactive community board where people can post anonymous comments. Gaudet says postings have included positive feedback such as: stay strong, you are not alone, people care, and be brave.

“What I love about this interactive board is that it gives people the opportunity to see real comments from individuals on our campus. Often it is very difficult to talk about sexual consent. The board acts as a medium for people to still be involved in the ‘be that person’ conversation who may be uncomfortable having direct conversations.”

Gaudet, now in her first year of the Master of Social Work program, graduated last spring with a bachelor of arts degree with a major in Psychology and minor in Cultural Studies. SARA started two years ago as a student leadership legacy project when Gaudet and fellow student Kylie Dillon led a group of first-year students in the endeavour.

“We chose SARA because it is an important issue and has affected many individuals including myself,” she says. “There is a lot of confusion surrounding what sexual consent is and our goal is to educate our campus community and create a positive voice against rape culture.”

SARA events take place at the Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research, 3247 University Way, and the Richard S. Hallisey Atrium in the Engineering, Management, and Education Building, 1137 Alumni Way, on UBC’s Okanagan campus the week of Sept. 30 to Oct. 4. Campus counsellors are also available to consult with during the week.


Just Posted

Demolish it or we will, City of Kelowna staff tell owners of derelict former motel

Former Ponderosa Motel is unsafe and used by squatters, drug users and the homeless says city

Opening a pot shop in Kelowna will be costly

City to charge a total of $10,500 just to apply and get rezoning for a store

Kelowna rapper, Mr. Wisdom addresses the opioid crisis with his music

The musician says he has lost at least 25 of his friends to date

Canadian rapper, Cadence Weapon was born with hip-hop in his veins

The rapper will perform in Kelowna on Oct. 5

Okanagan College business program compounds opportunites for finance students

The college has recieved Chartered Financial Analysist credentials for finance students

Weekday weather update

A look at your Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather for Sept. 24

Two B.C. police departments won’t use new roadside saliva test to detect pot

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is designed to find THC, the high-inducing part of marijuana

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Trudeau looks to restart Canada’s UN charm offensive in New York City

Freeland says the question of job retraining in the 21st century — and the uncertainty that surrounds it — is the federal government’s central preoccupation.

Calgary mayor seeks person who leaked details of closed-door Olympic meeting

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he will ask the city’s integrity commissioner to investigate a leak of details from an in-camera council meeting.

B.C. MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Most Read