Concordia’s new Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) officially opens Nov. 11, and the centre’s coordinator, Jennifer Drummond is eager to get started.
Drummond holds a masters’ degree in social work from McGill University, and currently leads the board of Stella, an organization that advocates the rights of sex workers.
According to Drummond, 1 in 4 female students will experience some form of sexual assault in a university, usually during the first few months of school, and 1 in 8 men will experience a sexual assault in his life.
“Coming out as having experienced a sexual assault can be very difficult,” said Drummond.
The amount of sexual assault incidents reported are only the tip of the iceberg as even today, a sexist culture prevails in which men still dominate.
“We all have a part to play in order to help prevent sexual assault,” said Drummond.
Drummond explained that at Concordia University, we are diverse and all have different personal, family and community values and have had different life experiences that affect how we deal with sexual assault.
There are only six universities with a sexual assault resource centre in Canada, and Concordia is now one of them. Drummond explained that this may be because sexualized violence is a challenging subject to address; people struggle to know where to start.
“Not to assume that sexual harassment occurs only among students, I will be educating and counseling faculty as well,” said Drummond.
The centre’s mission is to provide support to those affected by sexualized violence and to work towards the prevention of sexual assault. It will be important for the center to make connections with community organizations, resources on campus and to collaborate with various departments.
The centre will be looking for student volunteers, from any department, to get involved in order to help provide education and awareness on campus.
Howard Magonet, director of the Counseling and Development centre, is hoping for what he called a “snowball effect, where it keeps building momentum.” By this, Magonet means he hopes that as more students talk about the sexual assault resource centre and get involved with promoting awareness, more and more students will do so as well.
Drummond explained the importance of creating an environment in which survivors can come forward and talk about what they have experienced and receive support. She explained that sexualized violence is perpetrated predominantly by men against women, but that this type of violence does also occur outside of that context and can be perpetrated by any gender.
The SARC is located in the Guy-Metro building, Room GM-300.27, where Drummond can be reached for more information.