Knowing your options concerning on-campus sexual assault

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In January of this year, UNB Fredericton released the results of a survey concerning sexual assault on-campus. The results revealed that over 53% of students would not know what to do if a sexual assault were to take place.

The results of the survey were shocking to many and highlighted how much work had to be done by UNB to decrease the amount of sexual assaults on campus.

So, what services are available to students who have been sexual assaulted? April Jendrosch is the UNB Saint John Campus Sexual Assault Support Advcocate (CSASA). The CSASA position was added at the same time the Sexual Assault Policy went into effect in September 2016. Her roles include raising awareness for on-campus sexual assault as well as advocating for anyone who has experienced or is not sure if they have experienced a sexual assault.

“Maggie [Forsythe, UNB-F’s CSASA] and I continue to seek out ways to raise awareness of the new policy and our roles as CSASA as we know how difficult it can be for people to come forward and we want o be sure to clear away any possible hurdles or confusion around who the safe people are to talk to,” Jendrosch states. “We also want people to know that they don’t have to have it all figured out on their own, that is what the CSASAs are here for. But it is always their choice as to what steps they choose to take.”

Jendrosch notes that she and Forsythe are working together to launch various programs on both campuses regarding sexual assault. She notes, for example, they are launching a new poster campaign “to raise awareness of our role and that there are policies and steps in place to report sexual assaults at UNB.”

These posters ask questions such as “Was I sexually assaulted?” or “What can my university do to help me after a sexual assault?” and provide some brief information and the contact information of Jendrosch and Forsythe.

An example of one of the sexual assault awareness posters.

“As CSASA’s we are a confidential resource that can meet with those to answer any of their questions, advocate on their behalf, help to create safety, offer therapeutic support, and connect them with additional resources on campus and in the community,” Jendrosch says.

Additionally, Jendrosch notes that she is working with the SRC to bring the #BREAKTHESILENCE campaign from UNB Fredericton to Saint John.

“I believe it is a powerful way to bring awareness to the fact that sexual assault does happen here,” Jendosch says.

Kjeld Conyers-Steede, VP External for the SRC confirms they are working on bringing the campaign to Saint John, stating “we are just working out the details.” He also notes that “once the details are worked out, whoever comes in next will finish it off in September.”

Jendrosch also notes that she hopes Bringing in the Bystander training will continue to be conducted with student leaders such as the SRC, Residence Assistants, and athletes. She says, “we hope to keep doing this training as the purpose behind it is to empower people to be prosocial bystanders, where they are able to recognize their own skills and ability to keep someone from potential harm.”

Jendrosch also hopes for a Woman’s Center to reopen on campus. “We hope that this will be another resource on campus for women to find support and information or resources about what to do if a sexual assault had taken place.” She also notes the Campus Health Center is always available as well as Fredericton’s Sexual Assault Center 24-hour confidential phone line which can be reached at 506-454-0437.

In addition to the CSASA, there are other resources available on campus to students. For example, #HERE4U peer mentors are available to lend support.

“We need them to know that we’re there for them and are available whatever they need us to do in regards to their situation,” Lisa LeBlanc, a #HERE4U mentor says in an interview that took place in January.

“I obviously wouldn’t be someone who could tell other people about it, but I would recommend they go to the police or someone internal in the university to report it,

Leblanc says on what the #HERE4U peer support group can do to assist students affected by sexual assault who approach them. “But I couldn’t force them to do something they’re uncomfortable with, though I would definitely urge them to take action.”

#HERE4U Peer Support open office hours take place Thursdays 10am-2:30pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30am-2:30am in Oland Hall G20. Jendrosch can be contacted via e-mail at csasa@unb.ca. Additional resources are available on their website and their Facebook page.


EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of the article referred to the #BREAKTHESILENCE campaign as the #endthesilence campaign.