An Ottawa women's rights advocate and public educator is speaking out about sexual assaults at post-secondary schools after recent reports out of Western University, in London, Ont.
Julie Lalonde tells the Sam Laprade Show on Friday, September 17, she was often lectured about her own safety on campus when attending university, which is not unusual for many young women in post-secondary school.
"My family wouldn't let me stay on residence because they were concerned about safety for women in residence," she says. "This is something that has been going on campuses, frankly, as long as women have been allowed to attend university and colleges."
It is alleged that, over the weekend, nearly 30 women at Western University were assaulted and drugged at a first-year residence. Many students have continued to share their stories on social media platforms such Tik Tok and Instagram.
Many young women attending post-secondary school and living on student residences are given lectures about campus safety, but Lalonde argues male students may not be given those same lectures or sufficient workshops.
"We have this naïve assumption that a one-hour workshop in during frosh week is going to undo years of socialization," says Lalonde. "It's really naive to think that these young men who drugged and assaulted women -- this is what we're hearing -- that they didn't know what they did was wrong,"
Western University has since established a task force in response to the sexual assault allegations, including adding 100 "safety ambassadors" to help support residences and increase security patrols on campuses.
On Thursday, the Government of Ontario mandated colleges and universities to update their sexual violence and harassment policies by next March to better support students who bring complaints forward regarding sexual violence.
Listen to Lalonde's full Friday appearance on The Same Laprade Show: