Letter: Students outraged over lack of sex assault charges at UVic

Lack of charges an affront to victims of sexualized violence, as charges not laid against UVic student arrested in late February

In the latest affront to the voices and lived experiences of survivors of sexualized violence, charges will not be laid against a University of Victoria student who was arrested in late February on charges of sexually assaulting four different women.

“Students are outraged that a fair process and outcome for survivors of sexualized violence has once again been pulled off the table,” said University of Victoria Student Society director of external relations Kenya Rogers. “As we saw with the outcome of the recent Jian Gomeshi decision, our system of justice is not at all focussed on survivors. We need a major overhaul and re-think of this system which silences voices and discourages survivors from stepping forward.”

Rape culture is deeply embedded in our society and affects all aspects of society including our justice system. Our justice system is fundamentally unable to deliver justice to the people who are most marginalized in society – women, Indigenous folks, trans folks, people of colour, and other communities of people who disproportionately bear the effects of gender-based violence.

“If we want our ‘justice’ system to live up to its name and actually provide justice, its processes need to become survivor-centric and take into account the complexity of what it means to be a survivor of sexualized violence,” Rogers said. “Until this happens, the system will continue to be a deterrent to survivors coming forward, and under reporting will continue because people don’t think it will do them any good to do so.”

The Let’s Get Consensual Campaign will continue to work towards making our campuses free of harm, and we urge our community to be involved in this process. Together we must support survivors, work with those who have caused harm, and call out or interrupt violence when it happens. Together we can shift our culture, and the culture of our justice system, to one of consent where survivors are put first.

University of Victoria Student Society

 

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