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Sexual Violence at Canadian Universities - Activism, Institutional Responses, and Strategies for Change

Sexual Violence at Canadian Universities

Activism, Institutional Responses, and Strategies for Change

Table of contents

1. Introduction | Elizabeth Quinlan


Part I: Understanding Sexual Violence on Canadian Campuses

2. Sexual coercion on campus: The impact of victimization on the educational experiences of Canadian women | Lana Stermac, Sarah Horowitz, and Sheena Bance

3. “It’s not about one bad apple”: The 2007 York University Vanier residence rapes | Madison Trusolino

4. Campus violence, Indigenous women, and the policy void | Carrie Bourassa, Melissa Bendig, Eric J. Oleson, Cassandra A. Ozog, Jennifer L. Billan, Natalie Owl, and Kate Ross-Hopley


Part II: Violent Spaces on Campus

5. The rape chant at Saint Mary’s University: The convergence of alcohol, business, and sport cultures | Judy Haiven

6. Precarious masculinity and rape culture in Canadian university sport | Curtis Fogel

7. Violent bodies in campus cyberspaces | Andrea Quinlan


Part III: Institutional Responses to Sexual Violence

8. Women as experts: Origins and developments of METRAC’s campus safety audit | Andrea Gunraj

9. A critical analysis of the report Student Safety in Nova Scotia: Co-creating a vision and language for safer and socially just campus communities | Norma Jean Profitt and Nancy Ross

10. Theory becomes practice: The Bystander Initiative at the University of Windsor | Anne Forest and Charlene Senn


Part IV: Fighting Back: Anti-Violence Activism on Campus

11. The Coalition Against Sexual Assault: Activism then and now at the University of Saskatchewan | Elizabeth Quinlan and Gail Lasiuk

12. Collective conversations, collective action: York University’s sexual assault survivors’ support line and students organizing for campus safety | Jenna M. MacKay, Ursula Wolfe, and Alexandra Rutherford

13. Tipping the iceberg: Positionality and male privilege in addressing sexual violence against women | Gerald Walton and Jacob Beaudrow


Part V: Strategies for Change

14. From reacting to preventing: Addressing sexual violence on campus by engaging community partners | Julie Lalonde

15. Why theory matters: Using philosophical resources to develop university practices and policies regarding sexual violence | Ann J. Cahill

16. Responding to sexual assault on campus: What can Canadian universities learn from U.S. law and policy? | Elizabeth Sheehy and Daphne Gilbert


Author Biographies



At least one in four women attending college or university will be sexually assaulted by the time they graduate. Beyond this staggering statistic, recent media coverage of “rape chants” at Saint Mary’s University, misogynistic Facebook posts from Dalhousie University’s dental school, and high-profile incidents of sexual violence at other Canadian universities point to a widespread culture of rape on university campuses and reveal universities’ failure to address sexual violence. As university administrations are called to task for their cover-ups and misguided responses, a national conversation has opened about the need to address this pressing social problem.

This book takes up the topic of sexual violence on campus and explores its causes and consequences as well as strategies for its elimination. Drawing together original case studies, empirical research, and theoretical writing from scholars and community and campus activists, this interdisciplinary collection charts the costs of campus sexual violence on students and university communities, the efficacy of existing university sexual assault policies and institutional responses, and historical and contemporary forms of activism associated with campus sexual violence.