A new survey from UNB Fredericton shows sexual assault and discussions surrounding sexual assault are still significant issues within the campus community.
The results of the survey, conducted in Fall 2015, show that 21 percent of the over 1200 students that completed the survey experienced some form of sexual assault since becoming students at UNB Fredericton.
Furthermore, of those who reported being sexually assaulted on the survey, 16.5 percent indicated that they reported the incident to an employee or faculty member on-campus.
In a news release by UNB, Dr. George MacLean, UNB Vice-President Academic (Fredericton), said “We’re confident of the work that’s been done to provide a safe, positive environment for our students; however, this survey shows us that we still have work to do.”
The report highlights a number of insightful statistics regarding student awareness of protocol regarding campus sexual assault. 76.9 percent of the students that completed the survey indicated they do not understand the process of what happens when a student reports a claim of sexual assault.
Additionally, the survey indicates that 53 percent of students would not know how to report a sexual assault if it happened to them.
UNB introduced their official sexual assault policy in Spring 2016, while the survey was conducted in Fall 2015.
Jenn Richard of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre says to CTV News that university campuses transparency and honesty is essential to ending sexual assault and that progress is being made.
“There’s a conversation happening within the institutions themselves, with administration and faculty,” she said.
The survey offers a number of insights regarding attitudes towards sexual assault on campus and confirms a number of myths are still prevalent in the conversation surrounding sexual assault.
For example, over half of the students indicated that they do not strongly disagree with the statement that “Men don’t usually intend to force sex on a woman, but sometimes they get too sexually carried away”. 47.3 percent indicated that they believe rape accusations are frequently used as a way of “getting back at men”, and 10.4 percent responded that rape cannot be considered rape if the rapist does not have a weapon.
Also found in the results is the revelation that approximately half the students believe there is a need for some sort of action in regard to the way sexual violence is handled at UNB.
The need for education on sexual assault and the prevention of sexual assault is a consistent trend in the results. 61.5 percent of students indicated that they have witnessed a possible or actual sexual assault, but refused to intervene because they did not know how or felt like it was not their business to do so.
UNB’s sexual assault policy, affecting both the Fredericton and Saint John campuses, indicates that the method to report any incidents of sexual assault is to disclose to any UNB employee (see figure below).
Both campuses also have a Campus Sexual Assault Support Advocate, who is able to offer confidential consultations with survivors of sexual assault and provide further resources on medical services, safety planning, criminal processes, campus discipline, academic accommodations, and other issues.
Currently, UNB’s sexual assault policy indicates that only Formal Internal Complaints can be issued with UNB Campus Security. Any Formal Criminal Complaints must be filed by the local police authority.