A recent story from an assault survivor shows that reaction and assistance in sexual violence cases remains quite unresponsive, despite an increase in conversations on the issue throughout numerous university campuses.
On February 16, a University of Toronto student — who asked to remain anonymous —explained the negative experiences she had with the University of Toronto counseling services to CBC News.
The student had been attacked by a classmate. The university did not allow her to switch her schedule in order to avoid seeing her offender multiple times a week.
She described how the issue has triggered negative memories involving her assault and how having to interact with her attacker in classes leaves her depressed, anxious, and panicked, rendering schoolwork impossible.
The student said the only help that the university provided was allowing her to move around her exam dates.
Most of the student’s concerns involved the lack of alternative options presented by the university and counseling services, which she said left her feeling helpless and “blaming” herself.
“They made it sound like there was nothing I could do but shut up, deal with it and go to class,” she told CBC News.
An investigation into this student’s case by the university is currently underway.
“The University of Toronto is committed to a safe and healthy campus community. Allegations of sexual assault are taken very seriously,” said Lucy Fromowitz, assistant vice-president, student life.
Fromowitz said that the university is taking steps, in the form of a Presidential and Provostial Advisory Committee on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence, to address issues of sexual violence on campus head-on.
With files from CBC News