Calling all CASE members! Want to join our team as an Executive? Here is your chance! We are looking for a VP Residence Outreach, VP Fundraising, VP Student Engagement , and a Queer Community Commissioner to join us in the fall. Check out our Leadership and Volunteer Oppurtunities page to check out the full descriptions of the Exec positions and the application details. Applications will be due on July 18th!
Calling all CASE members!
We would like to invite you to our AGM Wednesday, March 23! Here we will be discussing constitutional changes, reflecting on this past year, planning for the next year, and discussing new executive team openings! If you would like to run for a position with CASE next year as a team leader or executive team member, we highly encourage you to attend.
Find the descriptions of CASE executive positions here.
To apply, please send your name, contact Information, and why you believe you are qualified for the position, to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday March 20th, 2016.
Stay tuned for more detail about this event on our Facebook page, and you can RSVP to the Facebook event here.
Hope to see you there!
*As a club, we would like to clarify that we do not hold a position against general personal security devices. The Securelet was created with the specific purpose of sexual assault prevention, which is why we felt the need to address it and elaborate on our stance with the response below. Unfortunately, the Gauntlet article quotes CASE briefly without our detailed rationale. Personal security devices in general are part of a larger conversation that exists beyond the scope and mandate of CASE. As a consent awareness and sexual education club on the University of Calgary campus, we address news and events that are exclusive to our mandate.
In a recent Gauntlet article, CASE spoke out about a new security device that developers want to introduce on campus, the Securelet. The Securelet is a bracelet that functions as a personal alarm in case of emergency, with one button that emits a high-pitched alarm sound, and another button that contacts Campus Security.
“Any kind of personal safety device puts the responsibility on the potential victim rather than the potential perpetrator and that’s not something we endorse at all,” Jahelka said. “Lots of victim blaming can happen because of typical prevention methods.”
CASE focuses on re-thinking prevention methods when it comes to sexual assault. While this article points out one reason as to why the Securelet is problematic there are several other reasons we would like to highlight.
First, the Securelet bracelet plays into the common misconception of “stranger danger” where sexual assaults happen when someone is attacked late at night. Statistically, this actually is one of the rarest kinds of sexual assault, though it is overrepresented in the media as commonplace. The fact is, sexual assault is most often committed by someone the victim knows - either a coworker, acquaintance, friend, partner or family member. These cases are referred to as “acquaintance sexual assault.” While the Securelet may provide a feeling of comfort when walking around campus, it does not address the root cause of sexual assault and thus has little chance of actually eradicating it.
Second, promoting personal alarms as a sexual assault prevention strategy puts responsibility on victims to prevent their own assault. Society already tells women to watch what they wear, how much they drink, and where they walk in order to prevent assault. Women have also been told to wear rape whistles and personal alarms for decades. This concept is nothing new and hasn’t lead to the change we need to see on Canadian campuses or our culture in general. It also can easily lead to victim-blaming, where victims are made to feel responsible for their own victimization because they did not take the proper precautions. This is the kind of thinking we are trying to change, because sexual assault and harassment only happens when someone makes a choice to do so.
Third, creating a sexual assault prevention device to place on the market as a purchasable product creates an issue of commodification. While it has not been clearly stated how students will be accessing the device, the Securelet has been identified as a product that could be made into a business. It is problematic to consider sexual assault prevention as a concept that comes with a price. By extension, it creates an issue of accessibility, especially for a low-income demographic such as students. All other reasons aside, if the Securelet were implemented on our campus, we would hope that it would be a service rather than a business, and that it would be accessible to all students, not only to those that could afford it.**
CASE believes that prevention methods need to focus on holding potential perpetrators accountable rather than putting that responsibility on potential victims. We are doing something new and different, addressing the root causes of sexual assault instead of outdated victim-blaming approaches. That is why we partnered with the Women’s Resource Centre to write a Quality Money proposal for a three-year education-based sexual assault prevention program called Creating a Culture of Consent, which aims to educate students about healthy relationships on campus. This project was approved by the Students’ Union in March and will kick off in Fall 2015. We are excited to see this project move forward, engaging students in important conversations, supporting survivors and promoting respect for others on campus. We believe programs like this will create the change we need to see on campus instead of the tired approach of telling students to wear personal alarms.
*Edited May 20, 2015 for clarification.
**Edited May 20, 2015 for additional explanation.
After a successful fundraising effort, CASE was able to create our biggest consent awareness campaign yet! We created four large banners that were displayed in MacEwan Hall for 10 days prior to Bermuda Shorts Day, a large concert event organized by the Students' Union to celebrate the last day of school. We received a lot of positive feedback about our positive message and eye-catching but simple designs. The day before BSD, we handed out approximately 2000 "swag bags" that had candy, condoms, and bookmarks with information about consent on them. Our VP Communications, Claire Gjertsen, was also featured in the Gauntlet discussing the concept creation & design process.
The materials for this campaigns will be able to be reused in the future, as the banners are high quality and will last for years to come. We will also be able to reproduce posters, buttons, bookmarks and stickers easily as the designs have already been created.
We would like to thank everyone who donated to CASE, making all this possible! Additionally, for our efforts in the 2014/15 academic year, we were honoured with the Club of the Year award. We couldn't have done it without the support of our donors, volunteers and the campus community! Thank you for an amazing year!
Please see attached documents for further information.
One of our CASE members is currently working on contributing to the conversation around sexual trauma in our community. This is being done through peoples written contributions of their stories on their experience with sexual trauma (all stories will be published anonymously). These stories will be collaborated into a book, and once published all proceeds will go to a charity that supports healing sexual trauma in our community (this charity is yet to be decided). The book’s name is True, for what is true for humanity now is much different than what was true for us 5, 10 or 50 years ago. Though truth is fluid and ever changing, and while it is recognized that the conversation around sexual trauma in our community certainly exists, the creators of True wish to contribute to the conversation of healing, empowerment and freedom as opposed to victimhood and shame.
There are people we have known for years, and may even be close with who have a story they’ve never shared because the stigma around sexual trauma and silence is so pervasive. Through the authentic sharing of one, another person can feel freedom to share authentically as well.
True is still looking for stories from the community! If you, or someone you know wishes to contribute to the conversation around sexual trauma in a powerful way please email us at case[at]ucalgary[dot]ca. True is also seeking a graphic designer inspired by the True story, and any other person who sees an opportunity for themselves in the editing process.
Details on writing:
We hope that wherever this book ends up, the woman (or man) reading it will find it healing and empowering as well as the person writing.
For more info contact case[at]ucalgary[dot]ca.
CASE is honoured to be a part of the Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence. The committee is tasked with creating a list of recommendations to the Provost by May 2015 to improve policies and procedures regarding sexual assault and harassment in the campus community. Read the full article in the Gauntlet here. UToday also released an article about the committee. We aim to engage students as much as possible in this process, so if you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail us at case[at]ucalgary[dot]ca.
Members of the CASE Leadership Team Claire Gjertsen (VP Communications) and Karla Danan Ravela (VP Operations and Finance) spoke to the Calgary Journal, MRU's student paper, about the importance of consent education on campus. MRU has recently implemented their own dating violence prevention program called Stepping Up. For more information read the full article here.
CASE President Emily Leedham was asked to speak at the U of C's Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women Ceremony on December 6, 2014. The event is a memorial for the 14 women killed in the 1989 L'Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal and others whose lives have been lost to gender based violence. Read the full story on UToday and the Calgary Sun.
Who We Are: The Consent Awareness & Sexual Education Club
We are a group of University of Calgary students seeking to educate others on campus about consent: what it is, what it looks like, and why it is essential to healthy relationships and preventing sexual assault. Consent is defined as: permission or agreement to do something.
We believe sexual assault prevention should not involve victim blaming, that is, telling people to adjust their behaviour, such as wearing certain clothing or not consuming alcohol, in order to avoid being sexually assaulted. Sexual assault only happens when someone chooses to commit sexual assault by either disregarding or not making efforts to obtain another's consent.
By encouraging communication between partners, we aim to reduce the most common form of sexual assault, which is acquaintance sexual assault, where the perpetrator is known to the victim. Anyone is capable of committing sexual assault if they do not understand or prioritize consent in their relationships. Through our work we hope that all students on campus gain a thorough understanding of consent and recognize that sex without consent is sexual assault.
We need your help to do this work, which is ambitious and multifaceted. Below we highlight some of our accomplishments to give you a better idea of what we do on campus.
Our Work So Far
With nothing but big hearts, some of our personal savings, and donations from our parents,
CASE had a very successful first year as a club in the 2013/14 academic year. Our hard work was rewarded with the Students' Union Clubs Advocacy Award and Honourable Mention for Best New Club in April 2014.
We are currently in our second year and have seen considerable growth in support on campus, our membership base, the scope of our projects, and media coverage. Below are some highlights:
Campus Security Alert Wording Changes: Working with the Students' Union and other student leaders and activists, CASE endorsed a petition to change the wording on campus security alerts to state,"A victim of crime is not responsible for the actions of a perpetrator.”
Take Back the Night: CASE participates annually in Take Back the Night, a march that is a call to action for the city to end gender-based violence, and to create an environment where women feel safe to walk the streets alone at night.
Bystander Intervention Training for the Campus Bar, the Den: In September, we collaborated with the Students' Union and the Calgary Sexual Health Centre to bring Bystander Intervention Training to the staff of the U of C's popular campus bar, the Den.
The goal of this training was to educate and equip staff to identify situations of sexual harassment and empower patrons to address the situation and feel safe and supported establishing their boundaries. This initiative earned CASE coverage from media outlets throughout the city, including the cover of the Calgary Herald.
2014 Halloween Campaign: Most recently, we executed a cheeky Halloween consent awareness campaign featuring large banners placed in high-traffic areas throughout MacEwan Hall,
CASE volunteers handing out goodie bags to students (filled with candy, condoms and an
informative CASE bookmark), and information booths set up in Residence, Mac Hall and ICT
Student engagement and support is another pillar of our work – we have hosted several discussion nights about consent and healthy relationships in U of C Residence buildings, all of which have been well attended and received positive feedback from students.
Planning of the December 6 Memorial of the 1989 Montreal Massacre: Victoria Bergeron our VP Events, heavily advocated for the theme of the memorial to be on bystander intervention. The memorial, themed “Silence is Complicity,” was emceed by CASE President, Emily Leedham, who spoke on the importance of speaking out against cyber-bullying and online harassment.
The Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence: CASE instigated the creation of this committee by calling for university administration to address online harassment within the campus community. This committee's goal is to create a report of recommendations for the Provost by May 2015. We have advocated for language that is supportive of survivors of sexual abuse and is reflective of the online harassment that has become commonplace in our digital culture in the sub-committee’s recommendations. Recommendations that we hope will help shape the update of the current 25 year-old university harassment policy.
Bake Sale: Held a Bake Sale in the beginning of February, which featured an assortment of Valentine's day-themed goodies and decorations to match which proved to be both very successful and engaging for our volunteers and active members.
Development and Roll-Out of “The Active Bystander Initiative”: CASE VP Academic Jennah Martens-Forrester is currently collaborating with Meg Martin of UCalgaryStrong UCalgaryStrong on the development and roll-out of the initiative. CASE executives are reviewing the program and making recommendations, with CASE VP Residence Hilary Jahelka sitting on the committee of the program.
Quality Money Proposal Submission in Collaboration with the Women’s Resource Centre: We requested funding for a three-year program – the “Sexual Assault Prevention Project – Creating a Culture of Consent.” An exciting step for us, which we are confident will receive significant consideration as it is another proactive step for the university in preventing sexual assault on campus.
Petition to Include Consent as a Part of Sexual Education in our Schools: Sarah, an active CASE member as well as Jennah Martens-Forrester, have created and collected signatures with the goal in mind to petition to the Alberta Legislative Assembly to get consent incorporated in to the Sex Education curriculum. This document has already been approved by Parliament Council, so we hope to add consent as a crucial aspect of the dialogue involved in school-wide sexual education discussion.
Do you want to make the University of Calgary a safer place?
Please donate here to help us continue this important work.
Even 5 or 10 dollars goes a long way :)
Help us continue engaging the campus community!
Please donate here to help us continue this important work
Even 5 or 10 dollars goes a long way :)
What Are We Doing Next?
The last day of classes on campus is known as Bermuda Shorts Day, which is a huge party for students to celebrate the end of the semester. On campus, there is a concert and beer gardens, with many students migrating to house parties, bars and clubs afterwards.
We want to ensure that everyone has a safe and fun BSD, so we are planning a large consent awareness campaign to engage students in a positive way as they celebrate.
We hope to double the scale of our Halloween campaign, which cost approximately $1000 for print materials and goodie bags.
With $2000 we can engage even more of the University of Calgary's 30,000 students with re-usable vinyl banners, buttons, posters, condoms, stickers, high quality trifolds for our information booths, and targeted social media marketing.
This is where we need you!
Please donate here via PayPal to ensure this year's BSD campaign is a success!
Help us raise $2000 and provide CASE with campaign materials to engage even more students.
Even 5 or 10 dollars goes a long way!
A big thank you to all who have supported us over the past year and a half, we would not be a successful club without you and your generous support. You have helped create an important movement to promote a safe and respectful environment for all students at the University of Calgary!