Union ForGenderEmpowerment 0

Fight Rape Culture at McGill

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On November 1st, 2013, the Montreal Gazette released an article reporting the case of three McGill Redmen football players charged with sexual assault with a weapon and forcible confinement. The students were charged 15 months ago, and, to this date, McGill has taken no action. They have remained on the team despite their disclosure of the event to their coach and are still enrolled as students. We, the Union for Gender Empowerment, are outraged, not only that this happened, but also by the total lack of response from the McGill University administration. We condemn all manifestations of rape culture, and we wish to extend our support and solidarity to the survivor in this case and to all survivors of sexual assault.

This is not an isolated incident but rather a symptom of systemic rape culture. Sexual assault is a daily reality that is consistently silenced and normalised, whereby the survivor is blamed and the perpetrator’s actions are rationalised and excused. McGill University, along with the majority of university campuses, is a place where sexual assault is a frequent occurrence. The institutions and practices commonly celebrated blatantly perpetuate rape culture. By not taking any disciplinary action to hold the perpetrators in this case accountable, McGill has further demonstrated their lack of commitment to supporting survivors and dismantling rape culture on campus.

We demand that disciplinary action be taken against these perpetrators and that efforts be refocused on the needs and support of sexual assault survivors. In light of these and past events, we demand that McGill sports teams have mandatory consent workshops and training. We demand more effective accountability procedures on the part of the McGill administration, as well as greater transparency in those existing. We demand that McGill recognizes and changes the glaring error of not having an explicit policy addressing sexual assault.

These demands are only a part of a great fight against rape culture and creating safer spaces on our campus.It’s important that each of us hold ourselves, our communities, and the institutions of which we’re a part accountable for perpetuation of a culture of sexual assault. McGill needs to address its grosslyindequate sexual harassment and discrimination policies, but more importantly recognize and combat the ways in which McGill upholds and reproduces both societal and systemic forms of rape culture.

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