By Tina Shaygan, September 13 2017 —
The University of Calgary is taking part in the province wide #IBelieveYou campaign for the third consecutive year. Initially brought to campus by the Consent Awareness and Sexual Education club, the campaign now includes the Students’ Union, the U of C administration and the broader campus community.
The campaign was started three years ago by the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services with the goal of creating awareness of the importance of saying “I believe you” when someone discloses their experiences with sexual assault.
SU vice-president student life Hilary Jahelka was present at launch campaign on Sept. 8. She emphasized the importance of cultivating a culture of believing on campus.
“We know that one in four women will be sexually assaulted during their time in university or college. We know that when someone discloses, they’re most likely to disclose to a close family or friend and that they’re also most likely to disclose to a fellow student,” Jahelka said. “We’re equipping our students with the message, ‘I believe you, it’s not your fault’ to help those who come forward start their healing journey.”
The on-campus campaign runs until Sept. 15. It will include information booths as well as a graffiti wall in MacHall courtyard for students to add their support. This year’s campaign theme is “Add Your Voice.”
“The focus is ‘Add Your Voice,’ in terms of adding your voice to support survivors and showing that you’re part of the movement. We’re really encouraging all students to add their voice, to sign the wall and show their support for survivors,” Jahelka said.
The U of C also showed their support for the campaign.
“We are proud to once again participate in the #IBelieveYou campaign and join others across the province in helping to create a culture of believing. This past year, we approved our standalone sexual violence policy, introduced a sexual violence support advocate and increased training, education and awareness about sexual violence,” U of C provost Dru Marshall wrote in a statement. “Increasing understanding of issues around sexual violence and showing support will help to create a safe environment for all members of the campus community.”