All Posts Tagged With: "sexual assault"
Incidents may be related
RCMP at the University of British Columbia are warning students to be vigilant after two women say they were groped on campus. The latest incident occurred on May 19 at 2:50 a.m. on Wesbrook Mall near Thunderbird Blvd. A 20-year-old says she was grabbed on the buttocks under her skirt.
“The woman said the suspect appeared to be a Middle Eastern-looking man, in his early to mid-20s, with a slim build, 5’8″ tall, dark brush cut hair and a stubble beard with an oval shaped face. He was wearing a gray hooded jacket, dark blue jeans and white runners,” said Sergeant Peter Thiessen of the University RCMP in a statement. He also told The Province the man was “Persian-looking.”
The other incident occurred on April 19 at 10:35 p.m. A 36-year-old says she was walking into a building on Larkin Dr. when a man lifted up her skirt and grabbed her buttocks. That man was described as of unknown race, 5’9″, wearing a dark top, dark pants and dark shoes with white trim.
Video interview spreads across social media
A McGill student who was raped has told her story publicly for the first time to TV McGill. The video interview is spreading fast on Facebook and has already been viewed more than 5,000 times.
Sarelle Sheldon says she was out with a couple of friends at a Montreal bar when a guy who she had been “trying to give the cold shoulder” started talking to her. Her friends went upstairs. After that, things got fuzzy. She woke up in the hospital with police, doctors and social workers who said she was raped and found in an alleyway with almost no clothing. She remembers the man from the bar holding her against a wall. She remembers scratching him. That was only the beginning of the pain. She alleges that the police didn’t take her case seriously enough. The rapist wasn’t caught.
Sheldon says McGill refunded her courses and a university counsellor helped her work through the trauma. “It’s not something you can handle on your own and you may not be comfortable speaking with your friends and family,” she advises, “but you need to get it out.” Watch Breaking the Silence.
(Video credit: Cedric Yarish, Spencer Macnaughton)
Analyzing the many reports of sexual assaults on campus
I’ve covered student news for two years now. Time and again, I’ve seen headlines that looked like this one from yesterday’s Toronto Star: Police investigate alleged sex assault at York University.
It’s less common to see headlines referring to sexual assaults at other schools, so it’s easy to assume York has a worse sexual assault problem.
But this conclusion is probably wrong.
Rick Ross gets cancelled but Tyga performs
A hip-hop concert cancelled earlier this month in Ottawa is fueling debate about which performers student union money should fund and whether artists’ freedom of expression has been silenced.
Pandemonium, the annual year-end show subsidized by the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) and the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), was to be headlined by rapper Rick Ross on April 9. But numerous students from both universities urged their student unions to pull out because they said Ross’ recent lyrics glorify date rape. SFUO and CUSA eventually pulled the plug and the show was cancelled. Shortly afterward, athletics company Reebok announced it was dropping Ross.
It’s not just an issue in Ottawa. At Harvard University, a performance by the rapper Tyga went ahead Saturday despite an online petition with more than 1,000 signatures demanding a student board cancel it. Petitioners said his lyrics in the song “Bitch Betta Have My Money,” are “explicitly and violently misogynistic.” Tyga performed the song on the weekend, “despite all the haters.”
PM Harper: Don’t call this bullying
The cousin of a young woman who committed suicide after an alleged assault and months of bullying issued an emotional appeal to people Thursday not to use violence to avenge her death.
Angella Parsons stood before a sombre crowd of about 300 people in a Halifax park to reflect on the short life of Rehtaeh Parsons and the lessons that should be learned from her loss.
“My family asks people not to respond with violence and aggression to this terrible tragedy,” she told the crowd through tears.
“We’re all angry. … Rehtaeh was angry, however, feeling angry and responding in anger and aggression are two very different things.”
The gathering came after Rehtaeh’s family said she hanged herself last week and was taken off life-support Sunday, following months of bullying linked to an alleged sexual assault by four boys at a house party in 2011.
Nova Scotia may review handling of Rehtaeh Parsons case
Nova Scotia’s Justice Department is looking for ways to review a grieving mother’s questions about the RCMP’s handling of her daughter’s allegations of sexual assault, an incident the girl’s mother says led to the teenager’s suicide.
After initially saying there would not be a review, Justice Minister Ross Landry changed his position late Tuesday night, asking his department to present him with options for a review.
Leah Parsons spoke out Tuesday about the case of her 17-year-old daughter, Rehtaeh, who was pulled off life-support Sunday night after she hanged herself last week.
Parsons said she is dissatisfied that the RCMP concluded there were no grounds to charge four boys over allegations they sexually assaulted Rehtaeh about 18 months ago.
In a statement, Landry says he hopes to meet with Rehtaeh’s mother to discuss her experience with the justice system.
“This situation is tragic, I am deeply saddened — as I think are all Nova Scotians — by the death of this young woman,” he said in the statement.
What students are talking about today (March 26th)
1. The Seattle rapper Macklemore, known for his mega-hit Thrift Shop, in which he rhymes about the deals at Value Village and raiding your grandparents’ closets, has made cheap clothing stores fashionable. In Calgary, local bars recently hosted a ‘Value Village’ formal and one graduate of SAIT who opened a consignment shop told The Weal student newspaper that it’s now a cool business to be in. The thrift shop phenomenon was also explored in The Athenaeum.
2. A Simon Fraser University sorority, Kappa Beta Gamma, has caused outrage by naming a pub night “G.I. Joes and Army Hoes.” Gloria Mellesmoen, writing in The Peak student newspaper isn’t happy that women are labelled “hoes.” She argues the theme is wrong too. “War should not be glorified or sexualized. I highly doubt anyone who has had to fight for their country would appreciate their work being represented as a sexy costume by a bunch of drunk university students.” She goes on to add, “I can say with the utmost confidence that I will never join a group that would call its membership and supporters ‘hoes.’”
What students are talking about today (February 26th)
1. Lakehead University students say that the school’s decision to change a course that will be offered in the new law program will water down the Aboriginal Studies component, reports CBC News. Lee Stuesser, the law school’s dean, says it will still address First Nations issues and that one reason for the change is that past Ontario law deans have raised concerns about non-law courses taught in law schools. “I felt the best thing to do was to make it a law course because my experience over the years has been that law students like law courses, and if they perceive something’s not a law course, then there’s a large measure of dissatisfaction,” he told CBC. Coincidentally, a new report from Frank Iacobucci, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, says this country needs to urgently address the crisis of Aboriginal under-representation on juries. While on the topic of legal education, Memorial University of Newfoundland has announced it’s exploring the feasibility of a law school in St. John’s.
Five things students are talking about today (February 20th)
1. Elisa Lam, a University of British Columbia student reported missing Jan. 31st, has been found dead inside a water tank atop a Los Angeles skid row hotel. A hotel worker discovered the body while investigating complaints of low water pressure, reports to The Canadian Press. Guests told reporters gathered outside that they were disgusted by the idea they were possibly drinking water from the tank, reports CBC News. Lam, who was vacationing alone in California, was last seen on Jan. 31st in the hotel elevator. There were reports she was acting strangely.
2. The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs’ list of ways to deter a sexual assault includes the following tips: “Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating,” and “Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.” The list was widely criticized by conservative and liberals pundits alike (finally—they agree!) on Twitter before the university took it down. The university says the list, which was first published in 2006 and provided to women who took a self-defense class, was taken out of context.
What students are talking about today (January 25th)
1. “Alcohol overconsumption = sexual assaults,” Tweeted University of New Brunswick Security last week. Anyone who has followed the issue of sexual assault lately can imagine the indignation that followed. Lee Thomas of The Brunswickan put it this way: most reported sexual assaults have male perpetrators, “so I would expect UNB Security’s “Males = sexual assaults” Tweet any day now.” Except, of course, that would be a crazy generalization. Thomas goes further pointing out that “it’s not the victim’s responsibility to ensure that they don’t get attacked; it’s the rapist’s responsibility to ensure that he or she does not rape.” He’s obviously right that it’s wrong to blame the victim. A better Tweet would have been “Alcohol overconsumption = occasional bad decisions,” although that’s a separate issue.
What students are talking about today (January 10th)
1. The University of Lethbridge’s Alcohol Awareness Committee has put up posters showing two girls enjoying a night out on the town beneath the headline “Who’s watching your drink?” and, in smaller print, the words “Keep it together. It can happen anywhere.” The Meliorist’s Leyland Bradley isn’t pleased, saying the poster implies woman can avoid sexual assault “if they know better.” Bradley says this is an example of “blaming the victim” and that it “perpetuate shame and self-loathing rather than working to prevent assault.” I don’t see harm in asking women to keep themselves and each other safe, but I do see how that “keep it together” line might offend.
2. The University of Albertaʼs Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, creators of NoHomophobes.com, have released a forceful new video showing how odd it is that we still use words like faggot and dyke. “We no longer tolerate racist language… but sadly we still see and hear homophobic and transphobic language in our society,” Kristopher Wells, the Instituteʼs Associate Director, told The Huffington Post, adding “While this language might not always be meant to be hurtful, we must not forget that words like “faggot” contribute greatly to continued alienation and isolation.” The video has nearly 5,000 views.
Campuses divided on best approach
Up to one in four female students is sexually assaulted during university, according to the University of Alberta Health Centre. While there’s wide support for fighting gender-based violence, campuses are divided over who should provide the support and who should pay for it.
Some university clinicians want help to come from professionals in campus clinics, while some students want universities to also pay for peer-based support networks run by students. Meanwhile, some student unions, funded by mandatory fees, have taken up the prevention and support role at some schools.
The debate is playing out at Concordia University where a group called the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy (named after their main location at 2110 de Maisonneuve Blvd.) argues the university should provide funding for a student-run sexual assault centre to complement its health and counseling services. Bianca Mugyenyi, the 2110′s campaign coordinator, says that peer-based support is a model that’s worked well across Canada.
Study shows increased risk of sexual assault
Studying overseas is an overwhelmingly positive experience for most students, but it comes with some risks. A new study showed an increased incidence of sexual assaults, including rape, among undergraduate women from a U.S. school who studied in non-English-speaking countries.
It’s a shocking—although small—study. Out of 218 undergraduates surveyed, 60 (that’s 27.5 per cent) reported at least one experience of unwanted touching while abroad, 13 (6 per cent) reported an attempted sexual assault (anal, oral or vaginal) and 10 (4.6 per cent) reported rape. That risk of rape was five times higher during the semesters abroad than semesters in the U.S.
One of the study’s authors told Inside Higher Education he suspects “legal access to alcohol, lack of familiarity with the culture, maybe weaknesses in the language, and potentially even being seen as somewhat vulnerable within the country” may contribute to the higher incidence of assaults.
Inside the war against risky drinking on campus
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
When outraged members of Pi Kappa Alpha at the University of Tennessee called a news conference in September to protest the suspension of their fraternity due to allegations of strange and excessive alcohol abuse, two words sprang to mind: Animal House. The news conference, immortalized on YouTube, is so unintentionally bizarre that it could be mistaken for an outtake from the subversive 1978 frat-boy comedy that launched a million toga parties and countless hangovers. The press conference—featuring a bow-tied, dead-serious Southern lawyer backed by an angelic legion of fraternity members in their Sunday suits—was called to refute allegations that one of their own, 20-year-old Alexander P. Broughton, had indulged in “butt-chugging” massive quantities of wine. While there was no denying that Broughton was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning after a night of fraternity drinking games, the idea of an alcohol enema is “repulsive” to Broughton, his lawyer said. “He is a straight man.”
Liberals up, Cubans defecting & art students protesting
1. In the wake of Justin Trudeau’s announcement that he will run for the Liberals, a new Nanos Research poll puts the party in second place for the first time since April. The Conservatives have 33.3 per cent support, the Liberals have 30.1 per cent and the NDP is at 27.9 per cent. The Liberals are now in first place in Ontario and B.C., while Quebec still strongly supports the NDP. The Conservatives gained in Atlantic Canada.
2. Three players from the Cuban men’s soccer team who vanished before a World Cup qualifying match in Toronto defected, according to FIFA. “As with any Cuban sport team that travels around the world, they’re all chasing the American dream,” coach Alexander Gonzalez told The Canadian Press. Or the Canadian dream.
3. After five years preparing, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space on Sunday. He hit speeds of 1,336 kilmotres per hour after leaping from nearly 39 kilometres above the New Mexico desert. His free fall was four minutes long. He said he had tears in his eyes.
A Bieber fan attacked, James Franco & #RIP Amanda Todd
1. A Vancouver Justin Bieber fan had her night nearly ruined. Simran Mann wrote her name inside a heart with a Bieber reference on a pillar outside Rogers Arena. The problem was that pillar was a memorial for Canuck’s player Rick Rypien. Hockey fans tracked her down on Twitter and unleashed a fury: “Please hang yourself, so I can destroy your grave,” wrote one. Ouch.
2. Speaking of the Canucks, Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin will play a charity game at UBC on Oct. 17. Both men are angry that sold-out tickets are being re-sold by scalpers on Craigslist.
3. Canadians are standing up against bullying with the hashtag #RIP Amanda Todd, in honour of the 15-year-old B.C. girl who killed herself after releasing an anti-bullying video on YouTube.
Dangerous drinking, First World Problems & free textbooks
1. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to report this, but public safety is at risk (seriously). A University of Tennessee student was hospitalized with a dangerously high blood-alcohol level after his fraternity, which has now been suspended until at least 2015, allegedly gave him an alcohol enema. Students call this “butt-chugging.” The apparent victim denies it, but such things have happened. At least one student died this way in 2005, according to Inside Higher Education.
2. This could be a game-changer. California’s governor has signed a law that will make more than 50 core textbooks free to download. Hard copies will cost just $20. I’ll bet it’s only a matter of time before this idea catches on here.
3. A Queen’s Journal columnist has explored the trend of #FirstWorldProblems after a life-changing event that happened while waiting in line with a friend for a latte. “We were informed that our Starbucks rewards no longer included free flavour shots,” writes Trilby Goouch. “As regular flavour shot users, we were both a little rattled by this new information.” First World Problems indeed.
Most-liked video ever, Waterloo sex crime & Montreal pride
1. I didn’t want to bore you with another story about Gangnam Style so consider this a YouTube story. Psy’s music video with his horse-man dance moves is now YouTube’s most liked video of all time with 2.2 million thumbs up, way more than LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem, which slips to second. Don’t get too excited. Everyone knows the more important record is total views. At 200 million, Gangnam Style has a long way to go to reach Justin Bieber’s Baby with 780 million views.
2. In a bizarre twist, Waterloo Regional Police say that a sexual assault alleged to have occurred on Monday did not actually happen. “It has been determined that the female’s initial allegations to police were not true,” they wrote in a release.
3. That’s great news, especially considering how such disturbing news could have detracted from today’s celebration. Prof. Stephen Hawking, physics superstar, is in Waterloo today to help open the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, a $160-million facility that will allow for atomic-scale experiments. It’s named for a donation from the Research in Motion (RIM) co-founder.
Flying futons, Carly Rae Jepsen & where students want to work
1. We knew futons were bad for your back, but apparently they can be even more dangerous than that. A New York City college student was walking to class when he was hit by a flying futon mattress that fell 30 floors from an apartment building. It rendered him briefly unconscious and injured his neck. Worst of all, the poor schmuck says he can’t afford both tuition and medical bills.
2. Yesterday, we learned that 42 per cent of 20- to 29-year-old Canadians live with their parents—higher than ever. Today, the Edmonton Journal points out that booming Alberta is bucking the trend. In Lloydminster, just 20 per cent live at home. In Fort McMurray, it’s 22 per cent. Compare that to economically-depressed Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. and Cornerbrook, N.L., where the number of 20-somethings at home is—yikes—52 per cent.
3. Universum asked 7,234 Canadian post-secondary students where they want to work after graduation. In the top 100 list, Apple is #1 (duh), Google is #2 (obviously), the Government of Canada is #3 (not surprising if you know anything about their pensions), #4 is the Bank of Canada, #5 is Microsoft and #6 is Royal Bank. My benevolent employer, Rogers, is a respectable #40.
Kristen Stewart, TIFF, Jimmy Kimmel is mean & bubble tea
1. Maclean’s, headquartered in the city currently known as TIFF, has a team working to bring you the latest news on films and celebrities right here. You thought Kristen Stewart, that famous double-timer, would steal all the attention? Well, she sure did. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt, whose sci-fi flick Looper opened the festival, were also popular on the red carpet last night.
2. While we’re on the topic of TIFF, intrepid Maclean’s reporter Jessica Allen is seeing Spring Break today. It’s the movie students everywhere are talking about—and I can see why. It has a classic plot: Selena Gomez and friends rob a restaurant so that they can party in Florida, but get busted for drugs and then have to rely on James Franco to bail them out of prison.
3. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel launched a segment on his show called “Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I Got My Kid a Horrible Back-to-School Outfit.” Not everyone thinks it’s funny. Parents taped the horrified reactions of kids given embarrassing back-to-school clothes. The segment included more than a few homophobic stereotypes, including one t-shirt that says “I’m So Gay I Sh*t Rainbows.”