USB launches online reporting for sexual violence
A new system designed to help victims of sexual violence on campus at the Université de Saint-Boniface has been launched. USB has worked with a company called REES — which stands for respect, educate, empower survivors — to launch its French online reporting platform.
According to its website, REES can be tailored to the unique setting of post-secondary institutions. Trauma-informed and focused on the needs of survivors, it gathers critical data for institutions and bridges anonymous incident-reporting with access to information about reporting options, resources, and supports.
This new partnership represents the eleventh between REES and post-secondary institutions in the province. Other campus partners include Assiniboine Community College, Brandon University, Booth University College, Canadian Mennonite University, Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Providence University College and Theological Seminary, Red River College, Steinbach Bible College, the University of Winnipeg, and University College of the North.
“Sexual violence is prevalent on campuses,” Mary Lobson, the founder of REES, told Canstar Community News recently. “This is a huge issue.”
According to a Statistics Canada report titled Survey on Individual Safety in the Postsecondary Student Population 2019, 71 per cent of post-secondary students have witnessed or experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours in the past year, and one in 10 female students experienced a sexual assault in a post-secondary setting during the previous year.
Sexualized violence can be characterized by a range of behaviours that include misconduct, harassment and assault, and can occur both in-person and online, Lobson said. REES is a safe, secure, 24-7 online platform that allows survivors to document an incident and empowers them to have their voice heard in whatever way they choose. She said the new platform enables reporting in three ways — anonymously, connecting to the campus, and reporting to police.