Recently, the University of British Columbia (UBC) has been the subject of unwanted attention after failing to help six women who had reported multiple accounts of sexual assault and harassment by a fellow student.
In 2014, the first complaint about PhD student, Dmitry Mordinov was filed. Several more attacks occurred by this same student, and despite “multiple complaints” at several different departments (such as UBC’s Equity Inclusion Office and Student Conduct and Safety Services), nothing was done to help these women and Mordinov was able to continue studying at UBC. Mordinov even admitted to these assaults, and was quoted stating, “I do realize that in Canada drunk sex is non-consensual, although this thought unfortunately did not cross my mind back then (Huff Post).”
Despite all of the reports and testimonies, UBC still failed to help these women.
Now that this shameful event has come to light, UBC has attempted to apologize to the women, who have not been given the help they should have had; and Dmitry Mordinov has only recently been expelled.
Sadly, sexual assault has long been an issue on university campuses and this is just one example of many cases. CBC conducted a recent study, in which they “contacted 87 university and major colleges across Canada to request the number of sexual assaults reported on each campus to the institution between 2009 and 2013 (CBC).”
Here is what the results showed on the interactive campus sexual assault reports. According to experts, the number of sexual assaults reported was extremely low. This is unfortunately an “indication that they are doing a poor job of encouraging students to come forward (CBC).”
This is a problem that needs to be addressed. Many sexual assaults on university campuses do not get reported for different reasons, whether it’s fear or stigma that is experienced by men and women who are victims of such crimes. The fact that these women were brave and came forward, yet UBC did nothing to help them is shocking. University campuses need to create safe atmospheres and spaces where students feel they can ask for help or receive appropriate assistance.
Students at McGill who are seeking to report sexual assault or receive support can visit McGill’s Sexual Assault Centre (SACOMSS), a volunteer-run organization. Here is their website for more information about their services, location and hours. Also, here is a list of sexual assault resources on-and-off campus for students (that includes the Dean’s office, health, counselling and security services, as well as legal and peer support).
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