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University of Calgary joins #IBelieveYou campaign in support of sex assault survivors

Campus community stands together to celebrate a believing culture as a first response
September 20, 2016
The Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services launched the second year of its #IBelieveYou public awareness campaign on Sept. 19. Photo courtesy #IBelieveYou

The Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services launched the second year of its #IBelieveYou public awareness campaign on Sept. 19. Photo courtesy #IBelieveYou

Imagine that you are a survivor of sexual assault. You’ve seen evidence that our culture is shifting toward believing survivors, but can you be sure that if you tell, you’ll get a compassionate response?

On Sept. 19, the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS) launched the second year of its #IBelieveYou public awareness campaign in Calgary, which celebrates a believing culture as a first response to survivors of sexual assault.

As a strong supporter of the campaign, the University of Calgary produced its own video of campus community members committing to a first response of believing, which was shown at the launch.

“The University of Calgary is committed to creating a welcoming campus where sexual harassment and sexual violence is never tolerated,” says Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic). “We have a duty to create and promote a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff. Our involvement with this awareness campaign is one of many ways we can demonstrate our campus is supportive and inclusive for everyone.”

The media launch took place at the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association and featured remarks from the Honourable Irfan Sabir, minister of Human Services; Danielle Aubry, executive director of Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse; representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces; and Shifrah Gadamsett, Mount Royal University Students’ Association president.

“Sexual assault is a severely under-reported crime, with almost 97% of assaults unreported. We’re thrilled to have had so many members of the University of Calgary community come together in a showing of solidarity for survivors of sexual assault,” says Deb Tomlinson, chief executive officer of AASAS. “The video highlight the diversity of support and services on the UCalgary campus for survivors and showcases their foundational support of the #IBelieveYou campaign.”

The campaign is a partnership between AASAS and the Government of Alberta, Ministry of Human Services and supported by community organizations throughout the province, including the University of Calgary and other post-secondary institutions. The campaign will feature real-life Albertans individually and in groups, publicly showcasing their support for survivors.

Community members who are interested in participating are invited to create their own 10-second selfie video and share the #IBelieveYou message to survivors on your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The University of Calgary will also be participating in the filming of a public service announcement produced by AASAS, to be filmed on Sept. 23 in Edmonton. If you’d like to join this event, you can sign up and hop on the bus to Edmonton for the day of filming. The faculties of Science, Arts and Social Work, and the Werklund School of Education, Schulich School of Engineering, Cumming School of Medicine and Haskayne School of Business funded this trip.

For more information about #IBelieveYou, visit the AASAS website.

For more information about the PSA filming, visit here. 

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