If you were on campus last week, we can almost guarantee that at one point you were ambushed with 101-ers and their Guides screaming cheers at the top of their lungs. Most of these cheers were all about Gee-Gee pride, some were faculty or program based, but one of them wasn’t like any of the others.
Guides, “What does ‘no’ mean?”
Guides, “What does ‘I’m too drunk’, or, ‘I have a boyfriend/girlfriend’, or, ‘I’m not sure’ mean?”
Guides, “And what does YES mean?”
Most often heard on buses out to events, this cheer was lighthearted but deals with something much more serious. This cheer is a part of the school’s participation in the “No Means No” campaign, a nationwide movement dedicated to raising awareness and eradicating sexual violence on campus.
Sexual violence is an epidemic on our campuses and it’s something we’re no longer allowing it to be the elephant in the room. There’s been a surge of action taken against the many degrees of sexual violence, from catcalling to assault. Statistics suggest that 25% of university students are victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault.
The debate surrounding rape culture can sometimes get heated, but no one can deny that sexual violence is a huge issue both on our campuses and in our daily lives. It’s important to notice that the No Means No also advocates against dating violence. We tend to think of sexual assault involving a stranger grabbing you off the street, because that’s often how the media portrays it (think Law and Order SVU). We’re not always told that sexual assault can involve our sexual partners too, and that guilt-tripping someone into sex is still an act of sexual violence.
Hearing these cheers on campus mean that the Federated Bodies and the SFUO are advocating for safety and inclusion and fighting against a major issue that affects so many of us. There’s no better place to start the conversation than 101 week, because “no” doesn’t mean a negotiation, it certainly doesn’t mean “I need another drink”; as the 101-ers have yelled so many times; indeed, no means “NO.”
If you, or anyone you know, is a victim of sexual violence or needs someone to talk to, here are some great Ottawa ressources:
SASC- Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa
24hr crisis line – (613)-234-2266
Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre,
24hr Crisis Line- 613-562-2333
CALACS Francophone d’Ottawa,
24hr support line- 613-789-9117
Ottawa Distress Centre,
24hr Support Line 613-238-3311