A Request

Following a three month investigation, the Toronto Star today published the first story in a series on the widespread failure of Canadian universities and colleges to address the rape culture on campus and to provide practical, accessible, non-blaming supports and redress to victims of sexual assault, harassment and rape.
This Blog was originally started as a way to call down this rape culture, and to provide a space for discussion among those harmed by and angry about it – to “break the silence”.
We posted a request for women to come forward and speak – off the record if they desired and with anonymity – with the Star reporter, Emily Matheiu, some months ago. We are reposting this request and Emily’s contact information below today. The first story today features some incredibly brave women whom we salute for their courage in speaking up. If you have a story to tell about your experience at Windsor Law or anywhere else, please consider being one of the widely expected flood of women whom I fervently hope this story will inspire to break their silence.
If you feel that you would like to have a private conversation with me before contacting the Star, please feel welcome to do so (julie.macfarlane@uwindsor.ca). I have spoken and met with this reporter many times in the past three months and feel very comfortable recommending her.
Request from the Star

My name is Emily Mathieu and I’m an investigative reporter at the Toronto Star. My colleague, Jayme Poisson, and I have been following news in the U.S. about over 50 universities and colleges now under investigation for possible federal violations of their handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints by their students.

We are now researching how universities and colleges in Canada are handling complaints of sexual violence and harassment.

A recent request for information about sexual violence complaints to Ontario’s ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities resulted in information from Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan, including “issues and recommendations from survivor consultations.”

The consultation participants who described experiencing sexual violence on campus noted that universities did not give proper follow-up and that consequences for assailants were not pursued by administrative bodies.  One survivor said that she felt the administrative body looking into her complaint was “biased, and relied on myths about rape in their judgment of the case. She stated that the administration attempted to find fault in her credibility based on her mental health status, rather than investigating the case in an unbiased manner.”

As part of our research we are now looking at:
1.     Policies of individual schools across the country
2.     Individual stories from survivors of how universities and colleges may have either supported them or were unhelpful when dealing with their complaint.

Please feel free to contact me if you are:
·       A sexual assault support worker familiar with these issues interested to share your thoughts
·       Involved in a campus/university workgroup or project addressing sexual assault
·       A survivor of sexual violence on campus who is interested to share some or all of their story
·       On or “off the record” conversations welcome!

You can reach us at:

Emily Mathieu
Reporter, the Toronto Star
emathieu@thestar.ca
Desk phone (416) 869-4896
Cell phone (647) 236-4860

Jayme Poisson
Reporter, the Toronto Star
jpoisson@thestar.ca
Desk phone (416) 814-2725
Cell phone (647) 242-7862

Sincerely,

Emily and Jayme

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