Anonymous Post on Bridge Raises Anger Over Sexual Assault Policies at Bishop University | The Canadian News

A message written anonymously on a bridge near Bishop University in Sherbrooke has sparked anger among students and put the school administration in damage control mode.

There is a seemingly endless stream of students crossing Bishop’s Bridge in Sherbrooke, Que., As they make their way from the student residences to Bishop’s University.

Today, many of them stop and take a moment to reflect on the disturbing message that is impossible to ignore.

“Honestly, when I first saw it, it was extremely heartbreaking,” says Bishop’s student Jaidan Stockill.

Last week, a large sign appeared on the bridge that read, “Raped me, I reported, still in my class, BU takes action.”

“For a survivor to do this, it is not their first choice. It is their absolute last resort, because they do not feel believed, “said student Meaghan Connelly, who is part of the Committee on Sexual Culture at Bishop University. “They do not feel supported and clearly not protected. “

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Images of the message on the bridge spread like wildfire on social media.

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Then other messages began to appear next to him. Some are about people who say they reported sexual assault and felt that justice was not served, while others say they never reported because they did not believe the process would help them.

“To be completely honest with you, I was speechless, not knowing what you can do to help these people, just knowing that they are suffering,” Stockill said.

The students organized a vigil on the bridge, but had to move it to an adjacent soccer field because a lot of people showed up.

“I think the atmosphere on campus, there is a very heavy air at the moment because everyone feels it,” Connolly said.

Much like the anonymous survivor did, many are directing their anger toward the school and the way it deals with sexual assault.

“I want to see a complaint process that is truly survivor-centered and does not focus on degrading claims, and I want to see students expelled for having sexually assaulted other people,” said Scotia Sharpe, student and co-chair of the Sexual Committee. of Culture.

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Dr. Stine Linden-Andersen, Dean of Student Affairs at Bishop University, says Bishop’s investigates all grievances and is updating its sexual assault policies. On Tuesday he organized a town hall meeting on the issue that was attended by hundreds.

“We have seen a small increase in survivors who come for support here. I think it is very important for survivors to know that our services are available here. They are free, they are confidential. We don’t have a waiting list, ”Linden-Andersen said.

He said the school is hiring an outside company to investigate the message on the bridge.

“If you highlight areas where we need to improve, areas where we fall short, we will address them immediately and carefully. We hope that the survivor gains a sense of dignity in this process. That’s really important, ”he said.

Many are not satisfied with the response from the university.

“We shouldn’t protect perpetrators when we have survivors who are sitting in the same classroom as the people who have hurt them,”

Stockill launched a petition demanding a concrete change. It has obtained almost 10,000 signatures.

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“Even the support systems they offer are not good enough because, as you can see, nothing really changes after people report,” he said.

Although the message on the bridge has sparked anger, there is some optimism.

People have written messages of support to survivors, and students hope that all the attention will be a catalyst to make things better.

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