SFU Consent Matters campaign opens dialogue on sexual violence

SFU has launched an awareness campaign in the hopes of preventing sexual violence on campus.

Campaign hopes to increase awareness and develop prevention strategies

A new sexual violence awareness campaign at Simon Fraser University features varsity athletes. (SFU)

The day after UBC academics filed an open letter apologizing for their previous lack of engagement in developing sexual assault policies on campus, Vancouver's other university, SFU, launched a campaign in the hopes of raising awareness and preventing sexual violence.

The Consent Matters campaign is, SFU says, an effort to "start a conversation" across all three of its campuses and offer support and resources to those with questions and concerns.

The university's varsity athletes feature in a campaign video that attempts to drive home the message that preventing sexual assault and the attitudes that foster it is everyone's responsibility.

"It's on us," is the refrain repeated throughout.

The video also calls for a culture of "zero tolerance" toward sexual assault at the university and shows the athletes holding cards with messages such as, "A dress is not a yes", and, "Everyone deserves respect."

"It is our hope that having a conversation about 'why consent matters' will be a valuable way to increase student understanding about the concept of consent but also open the door to more conversations related to sexual violence and help us develop prevention strategies at SFU,"  Rebecca Langmead, health and counselling services education consultant said in a statement.

Langmead, a former SFU basketball star, said that preventing sexual violence on campus is a necessary challenge for all post-secondary institutions.