This is a hard-to-write article, as the words seem to grab from the depths of my soul memories I fought for a long time to push back and forget, but that, eventually, I managed to process. It touches me on a personal level more than many of the people around me realize or even thought possible. And even now, laying it down in a few words sounds a bit eery:
I am a survivor of sexual abuse.
And I experienced it all; the shame, the fear, the anger, the constant feeling that somehow I was the guilty one. In my case, I was a child, decades ago, and the person that cut down some of my childhood dreams was one of my teachers.
However, this is not a sad article, but rather one that makes me proud. And even though it might sound like an advertisement for the work we’re doing here at KnowledgeOne, bear with me.
Concordia University has recently announced updates to its sexual violence policy, and part of this message it’s the upcoming launch of a mandatory online training that we worked on in close collaboration with the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC). The training will cover support services on campus, effective bystander intervention, step-by-step guides for filing complaints and receiving disclosures, steps to report social media abuse and more. The efforts Concordia University is making to create a learning and working environment free of sexual assault, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence makes me feel that significant steps are being made to increase awareness and that maybe stories like mine will be less likely to happen.
Sexual violence is more prevalent than many may realize and can take many shapes and touch individuals and communities in different ways. Shifting a culture, being one in a workplace or society as a whole, takes time and implicates us all. Seeing the work and dedication my colleagues and Concordia’s staff have put into this made me feel empowered to share part of my story, to add my voice to the voices of many that push for the promotion of a safe learning and working environment.
It Takes All of Us!