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Bring in the Bystander

This year, the StFX Students’ Union has moved to a new Sexual Violence Prevention Training which has been made in Nova Scotia and is better suited for StFX students with Canadian and Nova Scotian Statistics. With this change, there has been a few other changes made in the language the Students’ Union uses to better reflect this new program. For example, the Visible @ X Coordinator is now the title for the previous Bring in the Bystander Coordinator position. Any questions about these changes can be directed to Morghan Malyk, the Visible @ X Coordinator at su_bitb@stfx.ca.

Program Overview and Description

This program has been designed by the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association with funding from Justice Canada and in partnership with various Nova Scotian post-secondary institutions, in order to address sexualized violence on campus. The program is made up of five separate training modules that take a prevention approach to sexualized violence on campus. The goal of this program is to teach participants to recognize a broad range of sexually violent scenarios that commonly occur on post-secondary campuses. Participants will also learn various techniques to intervene either as bystanders or as a community in order to interrupt or stop sexual violence, support survivors, hold those who cause harm accountable for their actions and transform the culture that allows violence to happen. This program draws on participants existing skills, knowledge, and creativity in order to facilitate broader strategies for social change.

Our approach is grounded in the global and local struggle to end violence against women, as well as anti-colonial feminist and Black feminist theory (for resources on where to learn more, please see: Harris and Linder 2017 and Crenshaw 1989). The overarching theoretical framework for this training is one that understands sexualized violence as a form of oppression that both creates and reinforces the inequalities of patriarchy, settler-colonialism, racism, heternormativity, cis-normativity, transphobia, and ableism. Sexualized violence is a tool used to maintain oppressive social hierarchies that relegate certain groups to the margins of society. Most importantly, our framework is not static and is ever shifting and expanding as we understand more and more the experiences of survivors of sexualized violence on campus. In order to maintain a survivor-centered approach, our work to end sexualized violence on campus must be led by and responsive to these survivors.

Each module of this training program approaches the issue of sexualized violence on campus from the framework described above. However, the modules are divided in a way that allows us to focus more narrowly on particular themes related to this issue. The modules build upon each other, allowing participants to deepen their knowledge and understanding as they move through the trainings.

The structure of the curriculum is as follows:

  • Basic Bystander: This training module introduces participants to the issue of sexualized violence on campus. Participants will learn about the law and sexualized violence in Nova Scotia. Participants will also be introduced to the concept of bystander intervention and will be taught various intervention techniques.

  • Alcohol and Sex: This training module takes a harm reduction approach to the issue of alcohol-facilitated sexualized violence. Participants will learn about the various ways that alcohol can be used by perpetrators to facilitate sexual violence, as well as the risks in properly negotiating consent when under the influence. They will learn how to plan and participate in saf(ER) parties, gatherings, relationships, and hookups. They will learn how to spot patterns of boundary crossing behaviour when alcohol is involved and will have the opportunity to generate strategies to address those who cause harm. This training is particularly useful for campus bar and security staff, as well as residence staff, and anyone living in a “party” house or residence.

  • Advanced Bystander Intervention: This training will go more in-depth into the issue of sexualized violence on campus paying particular attention to the ways that power and identity can impact both how we experience sexualized violence and how we intervene as bystanders or community members. Participants will learn how to understand sexualized violence on campus from an intersectional approach. They will also learn various strategies for intervention in contexts where the power between those causing harm and those intervening is particularly uneven. They will learn how to be allies to marginalized groups or individuals in their interventions, as well as how to act in solidarity with survivors of campus sexualized violence.

  • Creating Communities of Accountability: This training is especially useful for and directed to pre-existing groups or communities, such as a sports team, residences, the campus LGBTQ community, a particular department of study, or a group of activists. Participants will learn the principles and goals of community accountability. Participants will work together to generate their own understanding of what a safe and inclusive community should look like and will come up with strategies to make that vision a reality. In particular, this training will teach participants how to recognize when someone in your group or community is causing harm and how begin to direct that person towards more accountable behaviour. Finally, participants will also learn strategies for supporting and honouring survivors in their community or group.

  • Creating Social Change: This training will take a broader historical and cultural approach to understanding the root causes of sexualized violence on campus. Participants will learn about the various ways that culture can support and encourage sexualized violence. Participants will work together to come up with various strategies to effect cultural, social and political change on campus and in broader society. Participants will learn how to build networks of solidarity, how to creatively get their message out to broad audiences, and how to generate and maintain momentum when pushing for social change.

If you are ready to take action to prevent sexual violence by
  - Becoming a facilitator
  - Receiving Training
  - Requesting Training for a group
Contact the Visible @ X Coordinator, Morghan Malyk at su_bitb@stfx.ca.

Sexual Violence Policy at StFX

The sexual violence policy is distributed by the Student Life Office.
You can download their latest version here:  Sexual Violence Policy.pdf.

In the case that the link has broken, download the mirror copy below:

Sexual Violence Policy.pdf — reviewed 2018-01-17

Steps To Reporting

More from Student Life Office: WHAT CAN I DO IF I THINK I HAVE EXPERIENCED SEXUAL VIOLENCE?