A group of University of Calgary students and the Women’s Resource Centre have begun working on a new Rape Awareness Campaign, an initiative that aims to start dialogue on campus about sexual assault.
The group had their first meeting on October 19 to outline the campaign’s direction and ideas. First-year communications student and campaign founder Laura Clendening said sexual assault needs to be discussed.
“Our goal is to bring awareness about rape culture and the prevalence of rape. We want to create an environment where it’s okay to talk about rape,” said Clendening. “At our meeting, we discussed a whole variety of ideas about what we can do to get that ball rolling.”
The ideas discussed centred around creating public forums where women can openly discuss their experiences with sexual assault. After exploring her own experiences with sexual assault, Clendening said open discussion is necessary to help eradicate assault and help those who are affected.
“I have been sexually assaulted twice: once when I was quite young and once when I was in my early 20s. I put those situations away and never dealt with them. Eight years later, I realized that what happened was not okay, and I started talking to my friends about it,” said Clendening. “Eighty per cent of my friends that I talked to had similar experiences. Nobody ever said anything until I started talking and I don’t think that’s acceptable. Very few people have done anything about this and we want to change that.”
Anyone interested in joining the campaign or telling their story can do so through the WRC.