On Monday Afternoon, close to 1,000 Queen’s University students walked out of class to support victims of sexual violence.
The walk out comes after reports began circulating that 30 young women were drugged and sexually assaulted at a first-year residence in September.
The reports prompted many to question their safety on the Queen’s University campus.
Students were asked to wear purple or teal in support of the cause and invited to “walk out” of class to meet on Summerhill at 12:00 p.m for the rally.
At that time, professors noted entire classes walking out in support of victims of sexual assault.
Many attending the rally were seen carrying handmade posters, boards, and flyers to raise awareness and send a message that sexual violence is not welcome on university campuses.
Signs read messages from “Girls should feel safe on campus” to “Respect female existence or expect our resistance.”
The walkout included survivor stories, information about support services for victims of sexual violence, as well featured chants created by the Alma Mater Society of Queen’s University engage supporters.
“I am demanding a call to action. I call on Queen’s University to advertise their workshops more effectively, I call on Queen’s University to pay for free and accessible self-defence classes for sexual violence,” Queen’s student Rebecca Laskin said at the rally.
Towards the conclusion of the event, a free one-hour bystander intervention training session was provided to attendees by the Queen’s Alma Mater Society.
In response to the Queen’s Walkout event, Queen’s sexual violence prevention and response coordinator Barb Lotan says she believes that University officials “can continue to build the programming, share messaging and develop programs and policies that are more responsive.”
The Queen’s Alma Mater Society has added that they will “continue to advocate for intersectional, inclusive, accessible, and trauma-informed solutions while listening to the voices of survivors.”
Despite these commitments, student continue to feel unsafe on campus and are awaiting more action.
These worries are compounded by statistics that indicate that sexual assault continues to be prevalent on campus. In 2020, a campus study found Queen’s University to have the second-highest rate of reported sexual harassment in the province.