Western U, London Police Urge Survivors to Come Out Amid Reports of Student Drug Abuse and Assault | The Canadian News

London police say they are investigating reports that 30 or more students may have been drugged and / or assaulted in accommodation on the Western University campus this weekend, but have yet to receive a formal report from a student.

Police held an old press conference Tuesday afternoon to address the investigation into allegations of sexual assault and gender-based violence at Western University and to urge survivors to come forward.

“Last weekend, London police learned of reports circulating on social media that several Medway-Sydenham Hall students were drugged and sexually assaulted over the weekend; some reports suggest that 30 or more students they may have been victims, “London police said. Chief Steve Williams.

“These are serious and disturbing allegations and have been taken seriously from the beginning.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Williams said that despite online rumors, they had not received any reports of drug addiction or sexual assault at Medway-Sydenham Hall.

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Over the weekend, multiple social media posts alleged that several students were drugged and several were sexually assaulted, although that has not been verified by Global News.

Williams said they were working with the university to investigate the incident and identify the victims.

On Monday, Williams said several officers went to speak with students at Medway-Sydenham Hall to gather information.

Western University President Alan Shepard was also at Tuesday’s press conference and condemned sexual violence on campus.

“The recent events do not represent Western values ​​and they are not the Western experience that we would like for our students, and they are not the type of experience that anyone would want,” said Shepard.

“We know that sexual violence based on gender is a widespread phenomenon in society and in the University, it is always wrong and we are asking those who have experienced it to help us obtain information.”

Shepard said that in light of what happened, they have increased security at the residence and have confidential counseling on site, as well as specialized GBV and survivor support professionals available to students.

“We believe in and trust survivors and work to support them,” Shepard said, urging those with information to come forward.

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In addition to reports of sexual assault last weekend, Western officials also confirmed that four other formal complaints of sexual violence by students were filed during the first week of school.

Shepard said the incidents that occurred earlier in the week did not appear to be related to the events of the weekend.

He said they have “taken swift and energetic action in these cases, including facilitating the arrest and expulsion of the students from their residence while the investigations are ongoing.”

London Police confirmed that three incidents involving four female victims were under investigation and that one person had been arrested.

“A suspect, also a Western student, was arrested in connection with one of the sexual assault allegations. That person is not in custody and no charges have been filed at this time, ”Williams said.

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On Friday noon, a strike was planned to support sexual assault survivors on campus and students are expected to gather at UC Hill.

The London Abused Women’s Center (LAWC) told Global News they received multiple calls regarding what happened at Western over the weekend.

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“Since yesterday, we have had a handful of women who have called to access services regarding this matter,” Jennifer Dunn, LAWC’s executive director, told Global News on Tuesday.

“It is very worrying, but it is good that they are looking for support, that is the point of talking about this so that women know that they are not alone.”

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Dunn said that while he doesn’t think the university is downplaying the situation, “they need to talk more about it and the investigation should remain open and continue to work to find out what happened.”

According to a Council of Ontario Universities (COU) survey, between the 2017-2018 school year, 71% of Western University students reported being sexually harassed, while 32% reported being sexually assaulted.

“That’s incredibly alarming, it talks about the culture that hasn’t changed yet, you have conversations stemming from the Me Too movement, the Times Up movement, the Shine the Light campaign and yet something seems to be stuck,” Dunn said.

Dunn said there must be a focus on educating children from an early age about kindness, violence against women and equality, which must be carried out at all levels of education.

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Prime Minister Doug Ford took to Twitter on Tuesday to express his “disgust” at the allegations.

“As the father of four young women, I am beyond disgusted to hear the sexual assault allegations that took place at Western University last week. All victims of sexual violence deserve justice. All students should feel safe on campus, ”Ford wrote on Twitter.

“As a minister of colleges and universities and a mother of higher education students, I am extremely concerned about incidents of sexual violence reported by Western University students,” Jill Dunlop, minister of colleges and universities, said in a statement.

Anyone who has experienced sexual or gender-based violence can contact the Anova Crisis Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 519-642-3000 or call the Abused Women’s Help Line at 519-642 -3000.

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– with files from Mike Drolet

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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