Groups of students, staff and faculty marched through campus last Thursday, braving the rain and chanting the words “end the silence, stop the violence.”
It was part of a walk named Take Back the Campus March, included in Western’s first-ever consent and sexual violence awareness week.
So far there have been talks, workshops and training sessions dedicated to educating and spreading awareness on sexual violence and consent. According to Angela Treglia, sexual violence prevention education coordinator, the week has been the result of a collaborative effort from different groups on campus.
“What we tried to do this year was to work with the different units that organize weeks to do something all together,” Treglia said. “It’s worked really well, especially for exposure purposes.”
Cristine de Clercy, associate political science professor and a participant in the march, encouraged students to get involved and support initiatives like this.
“I think students have far more power than they realize and I would encourage them to think of their campuses whether they got to Western or any other campus as very much their community” said de Clercy. “It’s really up to students to help make their community safe.”
The march was organized and spearheaded by the Society of Graduate Students. Melanie Stone, co-chair of the equity community for SOGS, said that walks like these are important for the community.
“Often times it’s not clear what procedures or things to follow or what supports are available on campus for survivors of sexual violence,” Stone said. “Walks like this showcase our solidarity and that we support and stand with survivors and that we are committed to ending sexual violence on campus.”
While Western has held many events on issues of consent over the years, this is the first time there was a dedicated week to it.
“I think a week long event really provides the opportunity to create a lot of emphasis on this topic,” Treglia said.
Treglia hopes that discussions of consent and sexual violence prevention won’t end after this event and the topics will continued to be highlighted throughout the year.
For more information on future events, students can visit safecampus.uwo.ca/sexual_violence.