“It’s a very confusing process to find resources.” It’s even more difficult when professors and staff are nervous about speaking publicly about their sexual-assault research.
Liz Quinlan, a sociology professor at the University of Saskatchewan, is leading a study on sexual-assault policies at Canadian universities, but she is hesitant to talk about her work because it’s “impossible to anticipate what the consequences might be.” Her daughter, Lakehead University sociologist Andrea Quinlan, another researcher in the group, says, “We’re working in a climate where some of us are having to reapply to the very universities we’re now speaking about in our research; it carries some risks for us in terms of the stability of our employment.” In 2009, Joanne Horsley was the victim advocate at the University of Saskatchewan, the liaison between those who had been sexually assaulted and those they had to notify, from professors to campus police.
But Senn says the university still has a lot of work to do.
“I was horrified when I recently typed in ‘sexual assault’ and ‘rape’ into our website and found you don’t get any information telling you what to do or where to go if you’ve been assaulted,” she says.
While some universities have tried to address the problem, new cases are making headlines every month, not to mention incidents underlining a pervasive rape culture on campuses.