York University Student Fights Sexual Violence
Mandi Gray is a 28-year-old York Univesity PhD student who was sexually assaulted in January 2015. She has since filed a human rights complaint but has discovered the university’s shortcomings in responding to sexual violence.
On top of the criminal proceedings, Mandi Gray filed a complaint against York University during the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario back in June 2015. She made a claim, stating that the university was lacking in clear procedures on how to report assaults.
“I’m not bringing this forward just for me as an individual. If I wanted to do that I could have walked away with damages, like a cash settlement, months ago,” stated Mandi.
“I’m doing this for future students and for current students and faculty who experience sexual assault.”
Read More: Sexual Assault: A Survivor’s Story
New Guidelines for Reporting Sexual Violence
Guidelines for responding to sexual violence were released in September 2016 by York University since Mandi filed her complaint with the human rights tribunal. The new guidelines have introduced…
- a Sexual Violence Response Office, which is intended to be the first point of contact for those who have experienced sexual violence
- a policy where police would be notified about alleged incidents only with the consent of alleged victims – the exception being if there is a potential risk to the community
Mandi has issues with the guidelines, stating that, “They’re making these really symbolic changes but they’re not changing the structure. I’m hoping the formality of this process will push them to listen to survivors of sexual assault.”
Many also states that the Sexual Violence Response Office does not have an adequate amount of experienced staff to help deal with sexual assault incidences and disclosures. As well, Mandi is pushing that all students should have access to proper counseling services at York University.
Lindsey Locke, Columnist for SOS Safety Magazine