Important questions are brought up each time a woman is sexually assaulted.
Advocates say those questions should not include, “What were you wearing?”
That was the message of an event at Red Deer College on Thursday called ‘This Is What I Was Wearing When It Happened,’ held on International Women’s Day.
The event featured a striking visual - students acting as mannequins wearing what sexual assault victims had on at the time they were attacked.
Second year Nursing student Heather McIvor says not only is asking a victim what she was wearing inappropriate, it simply doesn’t matter.
“We shouldn’t be placing blame on the victim due to the clothing that she was wearing. Sexual assault is a very real problem," she says.
“Often people shy away from talking about sexual assault or acknowledging that it happens, but it’s everywhere. Most of the time the offender is someone very well known to the victim, often even a family member.”
McIvor admits while International Women’s Day is primarily a celebration, shedding light on sexual assault is not. Rather, she says it is a reflection.
“We want to increase the amount of respect we have for each other and for women. It doesn’t matter -- age, gender, ethnicity -- and on the same note, decrease the amount of sexual assault that is happening,” she continues.
On what International Women’s Day means to her, it’s about how far women have come, but also how far society still needs to go.
“It’s about our battle for equality,” McIvor says. “We don’t want to be higher up, we’re not asking to be top notch. We just want to be on a level playing field. I want to stand beside you and be equal.”
Thursday's event was put together by the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre, RDC Nursing students and the Students' Association of Red Deer College. It was also a means to educate about the CASASC's iRespect campaign.
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