Isabelle Thériault, the Official Opposition critic for Women’s Equality is expressing serious concern over the recent number sexual assault testimonies by university students in New Brunswick.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear of so many experiences of sexual assault happening in our universities. This is quite frankly immoral and completely unacceptable behaviour that needs to be met with severe consequences. Students have the right to feel safe at their school and clearly more needs to be done in order to ensure that,” says Isabelle Thériault. “I admire the strength and courage showed by the students who came forward to share their stories. Change will never happen if we remain silent.”
Mount Allison University has been at the center of the movement. Thursday, the president of the university, Jean-Paul Boudreau, released an action plan focusing on the prevention of future incidents and improved support for victims of sexual assault.
“It seems Mount Allison University is now taking this situation very seriously and I hope they follow through with the plan they released yesterday,” says the MLA for Caraquet. “Government should work with the universities in the province to ensure that a standard policy be put in place for students to report cases of sexual assault, and I’d encourage all universities to proactively implement a plan to prevent future incidents and improve support to victims should an assault occur.”
Ms. Thériault also underlines that sexual assault is not only a problem in universities. “I think it’s important to highlight that this is not just one university’s problem. We know sexual assault is happening in other universities and in our communities, and we all have a role to play in preventing and reporting sexual violence. By encouraging sexual assault survivors to speak out, by stopping and reporting any incident we witness and by teaching our children to respect other people’s bodies, we can all join in the fight against sexual violence.”