'Til It Happens to Ryerson

            This week, Lady Gaga is once again breaking the internet. However, our majesty the Queen of Social Media isn’t fulfilling this title through her brilliant sense of style or jaw-dropping live performances– it’s the debut of Gaga’s music video for her song “Til it Happens to You”

            The video is a startling PSA about campus sexual assault. With such graphic visuals (it even opens up with a disclaimer) Lady Gaga portrays the reality many of us unknowingly push aside. The reality is that sexual abuse is unfortunately a common occurrence at Universities and Colleges in Ontario, with 1 in 5 women experiencing some form of sexual assault or harassment. And as heavenly Ryerson University is, we have been smothered in sexual assaults incidents recently. (For those of you with fear-ridden parents, these incidents are not exclusive to us, but happen at many other schools around Ontario – not just Ryerson. 

            Sexual assault is very common, but is rarely reported, which is one of the main reasons why such incidents are stigmatized and unseen by those they do not directly impact. CBC News conducted a survey back in February stating that the percentage of students reporting sexual assaults is “worryingly low”. “Overall, experts say the number of sexual assaults reported to Canadian post-secondary schools is surprisingly low, and an indication that they are doing a poor job of encouraging students to come forward.” (CBC.ca)  This is especially disheartening when one thinks of how common sexual assault is, especially in a city where the possibility of any kind of assault is not exactly slim.                    As terrifying as this report may seem, Rams, we are extremely lucky and should be thankful for Ryerson’s commitment to keeping their students informed by continuously notifying each Ryerson student of all types of campus assaults incidents via Ryerson email. But let’s face it- when we are inundated with laughable emails about students hitting one another with slippers (as we were just last month), those emails are sometimes not having the desired impact. ‘Til it happens to you is a powerful statement that bridges the divide between sometimes ludicrous security incidents and the lived realities of far too many of our fellow students.

            You should take a moment to watch the video-at your own risk of discomfort, and being aware that it may be triggering to some audiences. It may just make you more cautious of your surroundings, specifically in the big city. This is not to say that we are not living in a gorgeous city that you shouldn’t be taking advantage of-you SHOULD have fun and enjoy your time away from school work, but take measures to protect your safety because you honestly will never know what people’s true intentions may really be.

With that in mind, here are a couple of ways to protect yourself and your friends when it’s that time of the night when everything around you seems like a scene from a horror film.

·       There is an 80 Emergency line that can be dialled from any internal phone around campus.  

·       There are 7 emergency BLUE phones around the exterior on campus that are working 24/7 and will alert security once used – immediately

·       Ryerson Integrated Risk Management (IRM) security is 24/7 and is located on 111 Bond Street

·       The IRM is also located on the 11th floor of Jorgenson Hall

·       There are a number of apps that you can use to help you get home safely-find one that you’re comfortable with, and use it.

·       Keep up to date with your security updates from Ryerson-some of them may be ridiculous, but they could also help you spot potential threats on campus.