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Just one is too much

cartoonToday, we commend Durham College.

The college’s sexual assault and sexual violence policy and procedures are not only a step toward keeping our campuses and community safer – it will open the door for survivors of these terrible incidents.

Along with laying out clear definitions of what constitutes sexual assault and sexual violence, the college is letting its student population know this behaviour will not be tolerated.

A critical element in the policy details the procedure for assessing complaints. Not only does this lay out for staff what needs to be done with a complaint – ensuring all are treated fairly and confidentially – the procedure informs students of their options if and when they choose to come forward.

The troubling fact is the majority of these terrible incidents go unreported.

According to the most recent numbers from Statistics Canada, 91 per cent of sexual assaults go unreported to police. That’s fewer than one in 10.

By creating a policy that survivors of crimes such as these can turn to, it is creating the next step in a crucial journey to turning that statistic around.

Recently, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced an action plan to curb sexual violence province-wide. Durham College was, once again, ahead of the game, starting the process for its policy in September, ahead of Wynne’s announcement, when it created a task force to write a draft policy.

Students, please read the policy.

Durham College is going a long way in making your student experience a safe and happy one, so know the rules, know your options and educate yourself.

Sex is a common thing on college campuses, and you may think you’ve learned all you need from Grade 9 health class, but knowing where your educational institution stands and learning about consent will only better your college experience.

Over the last five years, only three incidents of sexual assault have been reported on campus at Durham College. A relatively low number, but when it comes to sexual assault, just one incident is too much.