Carleton University has recently added a new position to the Department of Equity Services that will offer support and guidance for victims of sexual assault.
“I want people to know that I’m here to provide any kind of support and information that I can,” says Carrolyn Johnston, equity adviser and Carleton’s new co-ordinator of sexual assault services. “It’s a big campus and it’s certainly not going to happen overnight that people will know me right away. But I’m hoping that over the semester, people will know who I am.”
Johnston says she will offer services through the equity office such as referrals and support to victims of sexual assault.
There will also be some new initiatives introduced this year to create awareness of sexual assault and provoke more discussion of the issue on campus.
“What we do know is that the majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by men that women know. So we really need to focus the discussion on how to stop that from happening.”
Johnston will also be actively involved in an October conference called “Man Talk” — held jointly by Carleton and the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW) — which is geared to men who want to help stop violence against women.
She says she also wants to work closely with the Womyn’s Centre on campus.
Her past experience working at Algonquin College and the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre will allow her to bring the benefit of those community networks to her role at Carleton. There are a number of initiatives that Johnston hopes to develop this year, including public education through in-class presentations, workshops and training sessions.
“In the future, I hope to bring in some of the community agencies onto campus,” she says, adding that she welcomes students to contact her either by email or by calling her at the Department of Equity Services.
“It’s a work in progress, there’s always going to be work that we need to be doing,” says Johnston. “But I’m confident we can work together as a campus, and a community, to figure out how we’re going to move forward on this issue.”