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Developing Holistic Approaches: Exploring Sexual Violence at the Intersections of Mental Health and Well-being


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This Deep Dive Session was held at the 2016 Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses Summit. Participants considered the intersections of two pressing issues on post-secondary campuses: sexual violence and mental health. Working from the Framework for Post-Secondary Student Mental Health, participants engaged in a broader discussion around these issues, as well as discussions regarding education, skill building, services and support. This session offered opportunities to learn from existing work that has been done in these areas and to think through new possibilities for campus awareness campaigns, the integration of mental health frameworks into policies and procedures, and broader shifts in campus culture.

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Developing Holistic Approaches: Exploring Sexual Violence at the Intersections of Mental Health and Well-being

  1. 1. Developing Holistic Strategies: Exploring sexual violence at the intersections of mental health and wellbeing Lucia Lorenzi, UBC Rachelle McGrath, MRU CJ Rowe, UBC Kandi McElary, MRU
  2. 2. Overview  Introduction  Definitions, Importance to Post-Secondary Institutions, and Canadian Context  Data Sources and Implications  MRU Overview  UBC Overview  Breakout Session  Discussion
  3. 3. Definitions  Sexual violence: is any violence (ie physical, psychological, spiritual, financial, etc.) carried out through sexual means and/or by targeting sexual orientation and gender identity. It includes sexual assault, sexual harassment (both online and in person), intimate partner violence (domestic and dating violence), and stalking.  Sexual assault: is any unwanted sexual touching.  Sexual harassment: a variety of unwanted sexualized acts that create an intimidating, humiliating or hostile environment. These acts threaten a person or groups personal boundaries, physical choices, and/or emotional well being. (eg cat calling, sexually suggestive noises or motions, jokes about sex, stalking, spreading rumours, etc)
  4. 4. Post-secondary Institutions
  5. 5. Canadian Context  Incidents of sexual violence and harassment on Canadian campuses making headlines (rape chants at Saint Mary’s, rape chants/Pocahontas chants at UBC, sexual harassment in UOttawa student politics, etc.)  2015: Ontario government unveils “It’s Not Okay” – a 13-point plan designed to combat sexual violence and harassment on campuses and in workplaces  2016: Ontario passes Bill 132, the “Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act” – this legislation includes amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act  2016: BC Green party MLA Andrew Weaver puts forth a private members’ bill entitled the “Post-Secondary Sexual Violence Policies Act” in an effort to require universities and colleges to have sexual violence policies
  6. 6. Data Sources and Implications  Different data sources that can be used  Education Advisory Board’s Campus Climate Survey  ACHA’s National College Health Assessment  Other surveys, ‘homegrown’ surveys  Disclosures and reports  Process feedback  Encouraging participation in surveys in an appropriate way  Having resources available  Ethical responsibility to respond to data
  7. 7. National College Health Assessment (NCHA) o Online survey that collects data on students’ habits, behaviours, and perceptions on health topics o Statistically reliable and valid o Option to add custom questions o 2013 Canadian Reference Group o 34,039 students o 32 institutions Image source:
  8. 8. National College Health Assessment  6.9% of respondents report being sexually touched without their consent within the last 12 months  Information on stalking and sense of safety Within the last 12 months, students report being in an intimate relationship that was… Emotionally abusive 9.8% Physically abusive 1.9% Sexually abusive 1.7%
  9. 9. Campus Climate Survey (CCS) o Developed by the Education Advisory Board o Anonymous online tool o Mainly concerns experiences within the last academic year o Option to add custom questions o Rigorous development and testing o 4998 randomly selected MRU students o Response rate: 16% o March 12– April 1, 2015
  10. 10. Community Attitudes (CCS) Statements were adapted from the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale Percent of Respondents Who Agreed/Strongly Agreed With The Following Statement Male Female Overall Rape and sexual violence can happen unintentionally, especially if alcohol is involved 45% 39% 41% If a woman hooks up with a lot of men, eventually she is going to get into trouble 51% 31% 36% Sexual violence and rape happen because men can get carried away in sexual situations once they’ve started 43% 34% 36% A lot of times, women who say they were raped agreed to have sex and then regretted it afterward 23% 14% 17% A person who is sexually assaulted or raped while she or he is drunk is at least somewhat responsible for putting themselves in that position 23% 12% 15%
  11. 11. Sexual Violence – This School Year (CCS)  About 10% of respondents report at least one incident of sexual misconduct (CCS)  Someone fondled, kissed, or rubbed up against the private areas of my body or removed some of my clothes  Someone tried to sexually penetrate me  Someone tried to perform oral sex on me or make me give them oral sex  Someone sexually penetrated me  Someone performed oral sex on me or made me give them oral sex
  12. 12. Sexual Violence – This School Year (CCS) Top 3 People Respondents Told About An Incident of Unwanted Sexual Contact % Count Roommate/friend/classmate 45% 35 No one 29% 22 Romantic partner 5% 4 Top 3 Responses Respondents Got When They Told Someone About The Incident % Count Responded in a way that made you feel supported 48% 32 Doubted you, asked questions to determine if it really happened, or refused to believe you 11% 7 Made excuses for the person who did this to you 9% 6
  13. 13. What Could MRU Have Done Differently To Support You or Someone You Know as It Relates To… (CCS) Sexual Violence Percent Count Provide more information on who you can contact on campus and their roles 44% 238 Provide more information on procedures for disclosing incidents of sexual violence on campus 43% 231 Provide more education and information on sexual violence 37% 200 Dating and Intimate Partner Violence Percent Count Provide more education and information on intimate partner violence 40% 210 Provide more information on who you can contact on campus and their roles 39% 208 Provide more information on procedures for disclosing dating and intimate partner violence 35% 188
  14. 14. MRU Initiatives  New website to provide information on prevention, resources, and responses to disclosures  Stand alone policy—for all members on campus (drafted)  Standard Operating Procedures—Office of Student Conduct, HR  Training Victim/Survivor Advocates  Sexual Violence Response and Awareness Coordinator  Stepping Up is a peer-to-peer healthy relationships promotion project that facilitates conversations among students on relationship topics, including bystander intervention  #IBelieveYou campaign at MRU helps individuals know how to respond to disclosures in a supportive way
  15. 15. UBC Initiatives  UBC Vancouver and Okanagan (draft) Sexual Assault Response and Support Protocol  Responding to Disclosures Workshop  2-page Assisting Student Survivors (print and online)  Graduate Student Society (GSS) – harassment reporting website  Sexual Assault Policy Committee with first draft of the policy in June 2016  Sexual Assault Intervention & Prevention Education Plan  University Panel and Action Plan on Sexual Assault and Harassment  Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  16. 16. Breakout Session # 1  25 Minutes  Table #1 – All Students  Table #2 – Education, Awareness, and Skill Building  Table #3 – Students With Concerns/Response
  17. 17. Discussion