How might we prevent sexual assault on university campuses?

Goal 5: Gender Equality | By: Ben


Sexual violence has always been prevalent; it is a system of oppression that has been upheld by society since the beginning of time. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, the conversation surrounding sexual violence has been thrust into the spotlight with no plans of being pushed back into the darkness. Although both men and women experience sexual assault, university-aged women experience sexual assault at a disproportionate rate with men largely being the perpetrators. In fact, 1 in 5 female undergraduates experiences some form of sexual violence within their first year of post-secondary. At the root of this issue is a deeply ingrained set of harmful societal beliefs and attitudes that not only affect women, but men as well. By using a feminist-theory approach, the goal of this system map is to draw attention to the causes of sexual violence and as a result, shift the conversation to include and help educate men on how to be supportive allies to women. Sexual violence is not a women’s issue: it is an issue of gender equality that needs to hold men accountable. The longer men continue to be complacent and maintain this system of oppression, the more unsustainable our future becomes.

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Every single generation of women in my family have experienced some form of sexual violence. It is not an uncommon narrative that every woman knows another woman who has experienced sexual violence. It was important for me to pick a topic that would allow me to use my privilege as a male to actively play a role in the solution without taking away from the voices and experiences of women. A shocking statistic I have learned through my research is that one in five women experience sexual assault while attending post-secondary institutions.