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Building a community of consent

Queen’s is taking part in Consent Awareness Week to help make campus safer and more inclusive.

Photograph of students walking down University Avenue on Queen's campus.
Queen's is providing opportunities for discussion and learning as it works to build a community of consent.

With a new academic year underway, Queen’s is showing its commitment to creating a campus free of sexual violence by holding a series of events and initiatives for Consent Awareness Week. Initiated by the Courage to Act Project and running Sept. 19-23, Consent Awareness Week is an opportunity to spark dialogue about consent, sex, and sexuality in the post-secondary setting and beyond. Queen’s activities for the week will provide safe spaces for discussion and a variety of learning opportunities.

“We are committed to creating a campus free of sexual violence by building a community of consent,” says Barb Lotan, Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator. “While Queen’s has taken important steps to help prevent and respond to sexual violence, we can only reach our goals with the help of the entire community. Consent Awareness Week provides an opportunity for all of us to think about what we can do to help create a safer environment for everyone.”

As part of Queen’s commitment to preventing sexual violence, a new online learning program about consent, It Takes All of Us, is now mandatory for incoming first-year students. The program helps users learn how they can participate in building a safe and inclusive culture. It focuses on sexual violence, sexual consent, bystander intervention, and supporting survivors. It Takes All of Us is open to all members of the Queen’s community.

“The sooner we can help students understand consent the better,” says Meg Ferriman, Director, Student Life in Student Affairs. “We have made It Takes All of Us mandatory for our incoming undergraduate students to send the message right away that consent is a highly important issue and integral to making campus safe and inclusive for all.”

Queen’s is also promoting consent through a social media ad campaign called Give Help, Get Help. The ads remind students that it takes everyone to build a community of consent and directs them to resources for seeking help or supporting survivors if faced with sexual violence. Give Help, Get Help is part of Building Community Together, Queen’s social media campaign promoting safe and responsible behaviour.

Social Campaign
Students are seeing ads from the Give Help, Get Help campaign in their social media feeds this fall as Queen’s promotes consent and sexual violence prevention and response resources.

Consent Week Activities and Resources

Panel Discussion: Campus Life: Sex, Intimacy, and Belonging

A panel discussion on Sept. 21, Campus Life: Sex, Intimacy, and Belonging, in the Ban Righ Fire Side Lounge will address consent in the context of residence life and will provide a safe space for an open conversation about how to navigate sex, intimacy, and identity within the campus environment. This event is organized by Residence Life and Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services.

Ask Me Anything

Students will have the opportunity to anonymously ask questions about consent throughout the week by using Ask Me Anything (AMA) About Consent Question Boxes that are being distributed in residence buildings. Peer Health Educators from Student Wellness Services (SWS) will then answer these questions on Raftr, the first-year community’s digital communications platform, and on SWS’ social media accounts.

“Students may have questions about consent they may not feel comfortable asking in person,” says Erin Burns, Peer Health Outreach Coordinator, SWS. “When others see the answers on Raftr and social media, it can help increase awareness, and kickstart important discussions around campus as well.”

Community Partners: We Believe You Day

Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services (SVPRS) is also partnering with the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SACK) and other post-secondary institutions to recognize We Believe You Day on Sept. 20. Members of the Queen’s community are encouraged to post messages showing support for survivors of sexual violence in their workspace, living space, or on social media.

Learn more on the Consent Awareness Week at Queen’s webpage.           

Consensual Humans: Consent Week Table Talk

Consensual Humans, a student organization dedicated to promoting consent in the Queen’s community, is inviting students to drop by their table in Common Ground in the Queen’s Centre to discuss consent, join the club, or enter their Consent Awareness Week raffle or trivia contest. The event will take place Sept. 20 from 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. Learn more on the Consensual Humans Facebook page.

Ongoing education and events

The university offers year-round opportunities for students to build their awareness and skills in relation to gender-based violence and bystander intervention, including a certificate program run by trained peers. Information can be found on the SVPRS website.

Support for survivors of sexual violence

Any student in need of support or information about options and next steps is encouraged to contact Queen’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator, Barb Lotan, at bjl7@queensu.ca.

Learn more on the Queen’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response website.

There are a number of other resources also available at Queen’s for students who have been impacted by sexual violence, including Student Wellness Services, the Human Rights and Equity Office, the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, and the AMS Peer Support Centre.

For free 24/7 crisis support, students can also turn to Empower MeGood2Talk, and the crisis support line operated by SACK. Faculty and staff can contact the Employee and Family Assistance Program.