Navigating consent: Campus campaign seeks to combat sexualized violence and create safer spaces

- September 21, 2022

Consent Week events and activities are designed to promote a culture of consent on campus through education, advocacy, and community engagement. (Ivan Samkov photo/Pexels)
Consent Week events and activities are designed to promote a culture of consent on campus through education, advocacy, and community engagement. (Ivan Samkov photo/Pexels)

As classes ramp up at universities across Canada this fall, we enter what’s called the “red zone” — a six-week period in which sexualized violence spikes on campuses across the country. 

To help combat such incidents at Dal, Lyndsay Anderson, sexualized violence advisor with Dalhousie’s Human Rights and Equity Services office, is working with Action Now Atlantic to showcase a series of events and initiatives this week that take aim at sexual and gender-based violence.

Anderson says hosting on-campus events during the first few weeks of classes can move the needle when it comes to keeping more students safe. 

“These events are designed to create a healthy community where students feel safe reporting sexualized violence or seeking help if they need it,” says Anderson, who offers one-on-one support for students and other members of the Dal commity members who have questions about safe sex, consent or accessing resources.

Understanding consent 

This year’s Consent Week events and activities — both at Dal and via Action Now Atlantc — include a mix of in-person and virtual events. They are accessible for any students, staff, and faculty members to attend. Participants will learn about everything from sexual health to what proper consent looks like and how to be a better ally to those impacted by sexualized violence.  

Throughout the week, students are encouraged to drop by the Consent Awareness Booth where they will be challenged with questions about consent and can test their knowledge of safe-sex practices. The booth will be located in a different residence each day.

Where is the consent booth for the rest of the week?

  • Wednesday September 21, 4:30-6pm -- Shirreff Hall lobby
  • Friday September 23, 4:45–6pm -- Howe Hall, outside the Dining Hall

Anderson also suggests checking out a couple of Action Now Atlantic events in particular. On Wednesday (Sept. 21) evening at 7pm, the group hosts An Anonymous Sex-Ed Q&A online with Dr. Lisa Dawn Hamilton, a psychology professor at Mount Allison University. 

“This event is a great way for students who are curious about anything that has to do with consent, sexuality and sexual health, but may not want the added pressure of asking directly,” explains Anderson.

Then on Thursday, therapist Kayla Breelove Carter, a clinical traumatologist who runs Breelove Counselling, will host a talk at 1pm about how and why racism impacts the victims of sexualized violence and what can be done about it. Learn more about how to attend these events.

How to be a better ally

Later on Thursday, a separate talk hosted by Dal will offer up advice on how to intervene if you are a bystander to sexualized violence. That happens in McCain Arts & Social Sciences Building, room 1102 from 5:00-7:00pm.

“This workshop is great for those who may not know how to step in safely as a bystander to sexualized violence and those who want to be better allies,” says Anderson. 

For more information on these and other events at Dal and via Action Now Atlantic, visit the HRES Consent Week page.

Read also: What is sexualized violence? (Dal Student Life blog)

If you or anyone you know is impacted by sexualized violence at Dalhousie, you can contact the Human Rights and Equity office for more information about resources available to you.


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