On Tuesday, the University of Guelph is spreading awareness and telling survivors of sexual and gender-based assault that “We Believe You.”
A resource booth highlighting the resources and training offered on campus will be on Johnston Green along with representatives from the sexual and gender-based violence office and the sexual assault-free environment peer team.
In addition to writing a “love letter” to survivors, which will be exhibited on campus following the event, attendees are encouraged to share what the day means to them online by using the hashtag #WeBelieveYou and tagging @wellness_uofg.
According to the news release, sexual violence has a disproportionately negative impact on students. More than 70% of post-secondary students have either engaged in or witnessed inappropriate sexual behaviour. One in three women, one in two transgender or non-binary people, and one in six men will experience sexual assault or abuse in their lifetimes.
However, only 6% of sexual assaults are reported to the police because victims are often reluctant to speak up for fear that no one will believe them.
When we discount the experiences of survivors, we normalize sexual assault and put obstacles in the way of their getting the resources they are entitled to. We can all play a part in stopping violence and helping survivors by telling them, “I believe you,” according to Melissa Conte, the coordinator for support services for sexual and gender-based violence.