Academic Disciplines and Campus Sexual Violence

by Naomie Tat on March 21, 2017 - 4:13pm

The news reports and articles published by mass media solely cover the surface of the issue of campus sexual violence. Academic researchers, on the other hand, write about their more detailed and narrowed research which, by the way, it is written, seems to be only accessible to the people who are already familiar with the research topic but is still seeking to further their knowledge and understanding of the issue. 


1)Social Psychology - McGill:

A “Social Psychology” course, where “three levels of analysis are explored beginning with individual processes (e.g., attitudes, attribution), then interpersonal processes (e.g., attraction, communication, love) and finally social influence processes (e.g., conformity, norms, roles, reference groups)”, is offered at McGill University. Since social psychologists study various aspects of society and humans, as well as their interactions together, their individual mental health and their ability to fit in a group, they can impact the issue of campus social violence in many different ways. For example, they can analyze the behavior of campus sexual assault, and harassment victims as well as the offenders. They can see how much victims are affected in their daily social lives, such as the way they communicate with others, their future relationships, their ability to fit in, etc. 


2) Gender, Sexuality, Feminist, and Social Justice Studies - McGill:


The “Gender, Sexuality, Feminist, Social Justice Studies” program at McGill defines its discipline as using “social justice as a driving concept inherent to the study of gender, sexuality, and feminism [while incorporating] critical race studies, disability studies, and Indigenous studies into the examination of gender, sexuality, and feminism.” This academic discipline impacts the issue in the way that it helps understand how gender and sexuality play a role in various aspects of society and social justice. The issue of campus sexual violence and a number of female victims assaulted vis-à-vis the male victims demonstrates that women are still very much seen as more vulnerable and inferior. Therefore, studying in “gender, sexuality, [feminism], and social justice” and making more research available will help people learn more about the problem and its very important presence to this day. Studying various cases and society, in general, can lead to finding a solution to the issue. 


3) Women and Gender Studies - University of Manitoba:


As defined by the University of Manitoba, the “Women and Gender Studies" program allows people to "study a wide range of women-centred social, political and cultural issues.”  It explores both current and historical debates about feminism, its implications, as well as fundamental questions of equity and social justice. As a dynamic, interdisciplinary program, it studies “diverse theoretical and practical approaches, including feminist cultural studies and studies of popular culture, violence against women, lesbian and queer studies, women in science and technology, gendered violence in urban spaces, sex work and sex workers, feminist geography, indigenous feminisms, masculinity studies, and reconstructing indigenous art histories that recontextualize museum collections and reclaim women's voices and lives." I believe that is more people knew about the field of “Women and Gender Studies”, the problem would be less common, because the fact that there even is such an academic discipline clearly shows that there really is a problem with society. Men do not need a field of study that analyzes all the issues they have in society because women suffer from injustice quite more evidently. As the issue of campus sexual violence is mainly a women’s issue, “Women and Gender Studies” could help find a solution to the problem as it is about empowering women and studying women in society and in history. It people learned more about women, they would be more willing to listen to female victims and as a result, female victims would be less afraid to speak out about what happened to them. Because they know they might not be seen as equal to their rapists, female victims often blame themselves. However, if they knew people saw them as equal, the problem of campus sexual violence would be more talked about. 


4) Human Relations & Family Life Education - McGill: 


To get a diploma in “Human Relations and Family Life Education” at McGill is to “deal with issues faced through the life cycle, whether in the work place or in the home environment.” Experts in that field are “trained to provide [in schools, hospitals, religious institutions and social service centers] support to people who are dealing with the challenges of everyday life, thus enhancing the lives of individuals and families.” The issue of campus sexual violence does not simply end when victims leave university or college. It is something they live with for the rest of their lives after being assaulted and it often affects them on more than just their mental health. In a lot of cases, victims have trouble with their social lives, school work, family life, etc. That is how studying “human relations and family life education” can be helpful to finding a solution to the problem of campus sexual violence. If more research was available to the masses and average everyday citizens, victims of sexual assault would get better support from their peers, family and friends. It would become easier to help victims surpass what happened to them and get back on track. They could be better helped by having people adapting to their needs, because families often don’t genuinely know what to do other than contacting the police. It is difficult to understand victims when you, yourself, have never lived it before. It could help victims deal with the challenges of everyday life that are caused by their incidents. 


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About the author

Naomie Tat currently studies Digital Arts & New Media (2D & 3D Animation) at Champlain College Saint-Lambert. She is a Montreal-born International Baccalaureate program high school graduate.