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An open letter to UBC: Nine things you should do to stop rape on campus

By Hilla Kerner
October 30, 2013

1.     Understand sexual assault as an expression and reinforcement of women’s inequality. Promote women’s equality on campus by ensuring women have power and leadership roles in all different academic, administrative, and research positions and other university institutions and formations. 

2.     Keep the issue of sexual violence as a top priority on your agenda. It is an ongoing harsh sexist practice fed and encouraged by the objectification of women, machismo, and victim-blaming. Changing it requires constant attention, commitment and serious action.

3.     Realize the pervasiveness and frequency of sexual assault and rape of women on campus. The lack of women reporting is clear evidence of victims’ lack of confidence in university authorities and the criminal justice system.

4.     Support women’s centres on campus – provide the resources needed for women-only safe space where female students can gather, provide mutual support to each other and strategize against male violence.

5.     Do not wait for media coverage and public outrage to press the police to be active and visible on campus to prevent attacks in public spaces.

6.     Offer safe and free transportation accessible to all on campus. Ensure walkways are safe at night with super efficient lighting. Improve safety and accessibility to all areas of campus to everyone, including people with disabilities, women with small children, shift workers.

7.     Establish anonymous sexual assault complaint procedures. Investigate all complaints seriously and thoroughly.  

8.     Sanction men who commit sexual assault. Sanction men who encourage sexual assault. Sanction men who witness or are aware that other men are committing sexual assault and allow it.

9.     Provide mandatory effective anti-rape lessons to all students.  Teaching young men not to rape is probably the most valuable education a university can offer to its students.


Hilla Kerner

For the collective of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter

*This letter was sent on October 30, 2013 to Professor Stephen J. Toope – president and Dr. Louise Cowin – Vice President, Students at the University of British Columbia

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