WATCH: UVic sex assaults shed light on serious issue of sexual violence against women
There’s some relief on the University of Victoria campus this week after word Saanich Police arrested a suspect in a string of sex assaults.
Four young women — all between 19 and 20 — came forward last month saying they were attacked on campus by a fellow student. The man, who was known to them, is now facing five counts of sexual assault.
“There have been a number of safety measures put in place to protect the victims in this particular incident and we’re working with the university to make sure they’re upheld,” says Acting Sgt. Jereme Leslie of the Saanich Police.
The suspect — who can’t be named until charges are formally laid — has already been removed from campus and banned from returning.
“Issues of sexualized violence are ones we take very seriously and we’ve got a strong commitment to create a campus community that’s safe and respectful,” says Jim Dunsdon, UVic’s associate vice-president of student affairs.
Sadly, attacks like this and sexual violence are all too common in our society. It’s estimated that one in five women will be sexually assaulted by the time they leave university and many think those numbers are low given how many attacks go unreported.
“That means there’s a very, very large community of survivors on this campus and when these sorts of things happen it can be triggering for them,” says Kenya Rogers of the UVic Students’ Society. “It affects an entire community of people on campus.”
That’s why UVic Students’ Society set up a special booth on campus Tuesday to tell students about the services and help that’s available to them.
“We feel like our community is hurting a lot right now,” Rogers says.
Even students not personally affected are struggling, especially when you consider the majority of sexual assaults are by someone you know and happen in your home or car.
And despite the arrest, there’s still a lot of fear on campus.
“It took me like half an hour to psych myself to go to school today,” says student Tessa Devakos. “This isn’t the only person who has committed an act of sexual violence on campus and taking this one person off campus doesn’t automatically make the rest of us safe.”
The suspect in this case will make his first court appearance in April.