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Sexual violence workshops aim to create ‘culture of care’

Source: Pexel

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — As data from the World Health Organization shows 1-in-3 women will experience some form of sexual abuse in their lifetime, three Calgary post-secondary institutions want to do something about it.

Starting next week, the University of Calgary, Bow Valley College and Mount Royal University are holding a series of workshops that focus on sexual violence prevention.

The workshops entitled “Rethinking Consent: Creating a Culture of Care” are taking place during Sexual Violence Prevention Month in Alberta.

“What this workshop tries to focus on is the feelings that come up around asking for consent,” said Cari Ionson, a sexual violence response and awareness coordinator at MRU. “Also not just within sexualized interactions.”

Workshops begin Monday, with events scheduled for both staff and students.

LISTEN: 660’s Devon Banfield speaks with Cari Ionson of Mount Royal University

“It’s not so much that we’re lighting unlit areas or encouraging certain people to carry a mace with them. We know that doesn’t work,” said Ionson.

Instead, organizers plan on influencing what Ionson calls “a culture of care” on campus.

“Not even just asking for consent,” she said. “But how are we reacting when we ask for consent and are rejected? These are important conversations.”

According to Statistics Canada, the rates of sexual violence in Canada are not decreasing like rates of other violent crimes in the country.

Ionson says changing this will require a culture shift when it comes to consent.

“There certainly has been a lot of work towards having consent education not only in colleges, but also in high schools,” said Ionson, who believes it is the first step to true sexual violence prevention.

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