The second 'I Believe You' campaign officially launched at Red Deer College Monday.
The movement aims to encourage survivors of sexual assault to share their stories and for those listening to support them and stand by their side.
Students were invited out to make pledges and learn about the different aspects of sexual assault, including consent.
Maryanne McGrath, RDC Students' Association President said her organization's focus this year is to educate the student body on that very topic.
"Consent is something that is given when you're sober, something that can be retracted, something given of sound mind, something given enthusiastically, and it's something that's absolutely necessary when it comes to engaging in acts with a partner," she said. "It's not optional, there are no excuses for not getting consent and it's something students need to consider at all times."
McGrath couldn't say whether RDC is worse or better off than other schools, but acknowledged sexual assault is a problem on all campuses.
"We want to encourage survivors to speak up and know that we're there for them," she said.
'I Believe You' is a province-wide initiative spearheaded by the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services, and is supported locally by the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre.
The Centre's Executive Director Patricia Arango describes the number of unreported sexual assaults as scary. According to her, a whopping 90 per cent occur without complaint.
"They don't report because it's not safe for them to do it," she explained. "It's so many things, not only that they are afraid people won't believe them, it's everything they will go through when they go to court. They are revictimized and treated as a witness, never as a victim, which is different."
Thankfully since the campaign first launched a year ago, there's been a culture shift says Sharon Poole, Manager, RDC Counselling and Career Centre.
"The awareness of the resources that exist has definitely increased because of the campaign," said Poole. "More people are talking about it and events like this do bring out that there are resources both on campus and in the community that can be helpful.
For more information on the campaign, visit IBelieveYou.info.
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