A Montreal university is attempting to prevent sexual assault before it happens with the introduction of a new mandatory training program for first-year students living in residence.
The workshop, developed by staff at Concordia University’s Sexual Assault Centre, aims to teach students about consent and proper communication. Jennifer Drummond, the program’s coordinator, told CTV Montreal that the classes will be for faculty and residence assistants as well as students.
“One of my hopes is that these students will not commit sexual violence,” she said on Monday. “They will prevent sexual violence from happening in their community, to their friends, to their peers.”
One third-year psychology student, Stefan Brady, has already had the opportunity to apply the information he learned in the program. He’s familiar with the classes because he has taken them for the past three years as a member of the university’s baseball team. The Sexual Assault Centre launched a similar program for athletes at the school three years ago.
“It’s a little uncomfortable but it addresses a lot of important issues,” Brady said about the lessons. “Definitely, at night, going to bars, it’s all too common to see guys not acting the way they should be. Either they’re too intoxicated, or just too aggressive. It can be a hard thing to confront and deal with.”
Thanks to the classes, Brady said he was able to recognize and intervene in an instance of sexual harassment when he was out with friends one night.
“[We went] to talk to a bouncer, getting an authority figure involved, doing something to prevent it,” he said.
That’s exactly the type of action Drummond said she hopes all students will take when confronted with a case of sexual harassment or sexual assault.
“We don’t tolerate sexual harassment. We don’t talk about women in such-and-such a way. It’s not okay,” she said. “[We want] that to become the norm and the standard.”
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Cindy Sherwin
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