Honouring the stories of student-survivors: trauma informed practice in post-secondary sexualized violence policy review




Rogers, Kenya

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Rape culture permeates the landscape of post-secondary education throughout Canada. In recent years, student-survivors and advocates have been influential in the creation of provincial legislation mandating colleges and universities to develop stand-alone sexualized violence policies. In British Columbia these policies are to be institutionally reviewed every three years, but there is no clear legislative direction as to how these reviews should be conducted, or how survivors and advocates voices will be included. My thesis examines the impacts of campus sexualized violence and the integral role that student-survivors and their stories play in transforming rape culture. Through the voices of nine University of Victoria student-survivors and five community-based service providers, I demonstrate that student-survivors and those who support them act as both change-agents and subject matter-experts regarding campus rape culture; as such, their inclusion in policy development and review is essential. However, my thesis also demonstrates that student-survivors and advocates navigate an increasingly corporatized post-secondary environment, whereby the stories of student-survivors are considered dangerous to the campus brand and reputation. In taking seriously the trauma associated with sexualized violence and the consequences of the corporate campus, my thesis offers a Trauma Informed Consultation Guideline. This guideline provides a trauma-informed and community based approach to consulting student-survivors in policy review with the intention of creating safer opportunities for story to inform future policy directions.



sexual assault, sexaulized violence, gender-based violence, trauma-informed, trauma-informed policy review, higher education, public policy