Consent, Respect and Sexual Violence Prevention
“Let’s DO Respect” is a campaign initiated by Student Life and the Office for Student Support and Conduct. Together, we can create and maintain a respectful, inclusive environment where students understand and promote consent. Where all members of the Douglas community work to end sexual violence, racism, homophobia and transphobia. Where all students, faculty and staff embrace inclusion, diversity, dignity and respect.
Our community matters
Every one of us is responsible for treating our peers, fellow students, faculty and staff with dignity and respect. Respect is demonstrated in a variety of ways, in class, in line getting a coffee, on transit and out with our friends. Respect can inspire us to always do the right thing, to show we have integrity and are willing to step up and do the right things even when it’s hard.
When we feel safe, treated fairly and with dignity and respect we feel better. Respect is also about celebrating the positive qualities that we hope to model for our fellow students and friends. It is our hope that by promoting campus respect and civility we can contribute to positive student conduct.
This website provides students with resources, information and materials so that you can learn more about setting a positive tone on campus.
We’ve all been in situations where we have witnessed an incident of racist behaviour that made us uncomfortable. As a bystander you have a choice, to intervene and say something to find an indirect way to confront the situation or to say nothing.
Standing up to racism shows that you don’t agree with such comments and is an important and powerful sign of support. It can also make the perpetrator think twice about what they’re saying or doing. People often don’t stand up because they fear becoming the target of abuse themselves.
What you decide to say or do will depend on the situation. You should never put yourself at risk but there are many actions that you can take that don’t involve confrontation. Even a simple gesture can be powerful and show the person on the receiving end of the behaviour that they’re not alone.
If you witness racist behaviour in public or on campus, you could….
- See an occurrence that is unusual or makes you uncomfortable.
- Decide “in your gut” if what you just witnessed was unacceptable or you felt was wrong.
- Ask yourself: "What can I do?"
- If no one intervenes, what will likely happen?
- Is someone else better placed to respond?
- What would be my purpose in responding?
- What are your options for giving help? (see strategies below).
- Determine any potential risks of taking action.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Is there a low-risk option for intervention?
- Are there any risks to myself?
- Are there risks to others (e.g. potential retaliation against person being "helped")?
- How could I reduce risks?
- Is there more information I can get to better assess the situation?
- Decide whether to act, at the time or later.
- Call Campus Security or Police when:
- There is a potential for physical harm.
- Medical help is required.
- You don't feel safe taking action yourself.
During the Situation
There are various strategies that you can try during the intervention:
USE "I" STATEMENTS
There are 3 parts to formulating an “I” statement:
- State your feelings
- Name the behaviour
- State how you want the person to respond. This focuses on your feelings rather than criticizing the other person.
- Example: “I feel [blank] when you [blank]. Please don’t do that anymore.”
USE BODY LANGUAGE TO SHOW DISAPPROVAL
Remember, you don’t always have to speak to communicate. Sometimes a disapproving look can be as powerful as words.
This communicates that the behaviour is unacceptable without embarrassing the offending person. However, if you are comfortable, speak up as it may be a more impactful intervention.
Sometimes safety in numbers can help you feel more confident when calling out unacceptable behaviour. This strategy is best used with someone who has a clear pattern of inappropriate behaviour and where many examples can be presented as evidence of his/her/their problem. Get support from people around you by calling on others to help. The more people who come together to interrupt a situation, the more you reinforce the idea that the behavior is not acceptable on our campus. This can be as simple as saying, “Let’s say something to them so they stop.”
- Example: “We are worried about you. Are you ok? We noticed that you have been making some comments recently that are very upsetting…”
This strategy prevents someone from distancing himself/herself from the impact of their actions. It also prevents someone from dehumanizing their targets.
- Example: “WOW, has anyone ever talked to you like that?”
- Example: “What if someone said what you just said about your mother or sister?”
This snaps someone out of their “comfort zone" or allows a potential target to move away and/or to have other friends intervene.
- Example: Ask a man harassing a woman on the street for directions or the time.
- Example: Spill your drink on the person or interrupt and start a conversation with the person.
- Man Stops Harassment on NY Subway
After the Incident
PRIVATELY SUPPORT THE UPSET PERSON
Help someone who has been hurt or offended. Listen supportively. Provide information about campus resources like Counselling or Student Support and Conduct.
- Example: “Are you okay? I saw what happened and wanted to offer my support (in whatever way I can/in whatever way I am able).”
TALK PRIVATELY WITH THE PERSON WHO WAS INAPPROPRIATE
This strategy is best used when the person has the same status as you, another student for example. It also depends on your relationship and the level of trust you share. An important part of getting your message heard is to allow the recipient an opportunity to save face and explain themselves.
- Example: “I know you well enough to know that you probably didn’t intend to offend with your comment just now. But just the same I am not comfortable with that kind of humour—I think someone may have been hurt by what you said.”
REPORT THE INCIDENT
Douglas College has policies that address harassment, bullying and inappropriate student conduct. Share details about the situation, with or without names. Get help from someone who may be better placed to intervene. Talk to the Instructor, Dean or staff person so that they are aware of what is going on.
- Example: “I have a concern about an act that I recently witnessed. I would like to report the incident.”
All of us have a responsibility to learn more about the impact of racism and what anti-racist actions we can be doing to combat racism. Continue to read about the issues, types of discrimination, listen to the voices of those who have experienced racism, and make a conscious commitment to continue to learn throughout your life. The more you know, the more you can take action and share your knowledge.
IF YOU SEE RACIST POSTS ONLINE