University of Victoria silencing sexual assault victims, students say

By The Canadian Press
March 15, 2016 - 3:58pm

VICTORIA — A student says the University of Victoria failed her in its investigation of a sexual assault complaint and warned her to stay quiet about its findings.

The student says she had to request the investigator’s report and when she received a redacted version several weeks later there was a letter attached warning her not to discuss the findings with anyone other than her lawyer, family, counsellor or police.

She says it wasn’t until she received the report that she learned the outcome of the investigation.

She says the report determined she had not been sexually assaulted because she hadn’t verbally said “No,” even though the investigator found her to be a credible complainant.

Two students who work as residence staff members also say they’ve faced pressure to stay silent about sexual assaults on campus.

The staff members, who spoke anonymously because they fear repercussions that could affect their employment, say a supervisor recently told them to call security if journalists showed up after a male student was arrested in connection with four alleged assaults in a separate case. 

The University of Victoria declined to discuss specific cases but says investigations rely on the Criminal Code definition of sexual assault, in which silence is not considered a form of consent.

The university says external investigator reports are first given verbally but the written report has to be requested so that any sensitive legal and privacy information about third parties can be removed.

Residence staff are asked not to speak to media on behalf of the university and to report anyone gaining access to student residences without permission to campus security, the school adds.

Universities across Canada are facing complaints about how they handle campus attacks.

The Canadian Press

 

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