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The Bystander Initiative in the News


UWindsor sexual assault prevention workshops rising in popularity


“"Our students from Practical Strategies for Social Change take our course and get a university credit. And then, they take [Practicum in Social Change] to learn how to facilitate the course," said Cachon, adding student-led workshops allow other students to be more engaged.”


Bystander Training as Leadership Training: Notes on the Origins, Philosophy, and Pedagogy of the Mentors in Violence Prevention Model

Jackson Katz in Violence Against Women

“Leadership training and the bystander approach are closely aligned conceptually as well as practically.”

Book Review: Sexual Violence at Canadian Universities: Activism, Institutional Responses, and Strategies for Change

Ally Crawford in briarpatch

“Anne Forrest and Charlene Senn offer a case study of the University of Windsor’s bystander initiative, which led to the development of undergraduate courses across several disciplines designed to create “an anti-rape ethos supported by students.” The success of the initiative is attributed to the contributions of community partners and to the pre-existing structure of the curriculum to engage students of all genders and backgrounds as “change agents.””

What Consent Means in the Age of #MeToo

Sarah Barmak in The Walrus

“A 2015 survey conducted by Charlene Senn, a professor in the University of Windsor’s psychology department and women’s studies program and an expert on sexual violence, and several colleagues, found that at least 25 percent of 442 first-year female university students had been coerced or faced attempted coercion into penetrative sex by men, through tactics including manipulation and threatening to end a relationship, in a twelve-month study period.”

The Silence Breakers (Audio)

From CBC Windsor Morning

“The Silence Breakers” have been named TIME magazines persons of the year. These are the women who blew the whistle on men they accuse of sexually harassing and sexually assaulting them. How is this magazine cover being received in Windsor?

Tony Doucette interviews Dr. Emily Rosser, University of Windsor

Fighting Back Against Sexual Assault (Video):

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

CTV Windsor’s Sacha Long looks at a campus education program proven to decrease sexual violence

Donald Trump video prompts global revelations of sexual assault

Lauren Pelley in the Toronto Star

Combating sexual assault at universities and mobilizing young men to be allies are also pieces of the puzzle, notes gender violence expert Emily Rosser, co-ordinator of the Bystander Initiative, a sexual assault prevention and education program at the University of Windsor.

We ignore the liberal arts at our peril

Alan Wildeman in the Globe and Mail

At the University of Windsor, our Cross-Border Institute is looking at technological, legal and public-policy issues involved in moving people and goods from one country to another. Our research and education programs to prevent sexual violence against women are getting at one of the biggest realities any society must confront. Both undertakings address matters critical to Canada’s future, and rely heavily upon insights from the social sciences and humanities.

Acknowledging sexual assault focus of PhD thesis for Dusty Johnstone (Video)

From Research Matters with Steven Fields

Dusty Johnstone discusses her work on Research Matters, a weekly talk show that focused on the work of University of Windsor researchers and aired every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on CJAM 99.1 FM.

Teaching women self-defence still the best way to reduce sexual assaults: study

Erin Anderssen in the Globe and Mail

We would like to acknowledge how proud we are of this work that has been done by Dr. Charlene Senn, who is also one of the founders of the Bystander Initiative. Rape resistance education is a practical complement to sexual assault prevention strategies while we work on effecting cultural change.


Sexual Assault in the News


Watch:  Dr. Charlene Senn discusses future directions for sexual violence preventions

Watch: The University of Michigan Injury and Prevention Center presents 2018 Summit on the Prevention of Campus Sexual Assault: Summary and Next Steps


Equipping Women to Stop Campus Rape

Tina Rosenberg in the New York Times

“One school that tested it is the University of Windsor in Ontario, where the program’s author, Charlene Senn, is a professor of psychology and of women’s and gender studies. Dr. Senn built the program on top of an older and shorter course named Assess, Acknowledge and Act. Later, Sarah Deatherage-Rauzin, the health promotion coordinator at Florida Atlantic, called its successor Flip the Script, and that’s what a lot of universities call it now."


“We’re here because we’re done with the status quo. We’re done with ineffective policies that have not protected us from workplace sexual violence. We’re done with not having adequate supports in place once we report. We’re done with ineffective leadership who turned a blind eye to this problem. We’re done with work related reprisals should we report. We’re done. AfterMeToo is a movement working towards ending workplace sexual violence. We are a national movement mobilizing reform.”

Canadian universities are failing students on sexual assault

Zane Schwartz in Macleans

“The truth is, Canada has very high frequencies of campus sexual violence,” says Geneviève Paquette, a professor at the Université de Sherbrooke. “We aren’t doing nearly enough to protect students.”

What is sexual misconduct, exactly? Depends on who you ask

Joanne Laucius in the Ottawa Citizen

“Sexual misconduct is not a term that I use, or that is used in research. The concept of a ‘continuum of violence against women’ was first introduced in the 80s. Many people have suggested that using sexual violence as an umbrella term is problematic, but it’s a continuum, and these things have a common (nature). On the left side of the continuum, you have things that happen more frequently. On the right side, you have things that have a lower frequency and a higher societal awareness that they are problematic — forcible rape, for example."


A New Culture: The U rolls out a plan to address sexual assault and harassment on campus

Jennifer Volger for the University of Minnesota Alumni Association

“When it comes to risk reduction, Charlene Senn, a professor of applied social psychology at the University of Windsor in Canada, has devised one of the more promising approaches. The training, which she calls “resistance education,” is delivered in small-group settings. It teaches first-year university women to assess risk, recognize and resist coercive behavior, and take action—whether leaving a room, yelling, pushing, or kicking. “Research shows that when women use even one tactic,” there is a 60 percent chance of foiling a potential rape, Senn says. Her program also includes a positive sexual education component.”

Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers


“Discussions of sexual harassment in polite company tend to rely on euphemisms: harassment becomes “inappropriate behavior,” assault becomes “misconduct,” rape becomes “abuse.” We’re accustomed to hearing those softened words, which downplay the pain of the experience.”

On the Front Lines of Unfounded

Robyn Doolittle in the Globe and Mail

“I think people are finally taking notice after researchers and advocates have been yammering away on this for a long time. … People are asking is this a turning point? It may be.”

A tsunami of emotions: sexual harassment at work

Anna-Liza Cozma for CBC

“We have to stop the conversations around why she didn’t do something.  The woman involved is the only one who knows what she can and can’t do.  When people think that bad things will happen to them (when they disclose harassment) they are often right.  Their fears are not irrational.”

Brad Pitt’s 3-step program for #MaleAllies

Shari Graydon in Informed Opinions

“You don’t have to be Brad Pitt to stand up with women, demanding respect, and rejecting abuse.”

Rape at universities: One program is proven to reduce it

Charlene Senn in The Conversation

“The relatively recent focus on bystander education is one prevention option endorsed in Canada, the United States and the CDC. And it’s a good choice. Bystander programs have been shown to change students’ attitudes toward intervening when they see a problem. More importantly, they increase students’ actual intervention behaviour.”

New sexual assault law will boost Thunder Bay student safety: Wynne

CBC News

The government’s proposed legislation on sexual assault will help keep college and university students in Thunder Bay, and the rest of the province, safe, said Premier Kathleen Wynne.

'It was horrifying': Former student says university revictimized her during sexual assault investigation

Lisa Xing for CBC News

“I was shocked, confused,” she said. “I didn’t realize this would happen, especially with an intimate partner.”

The Ghomeshi verdict: This is no time for complacency

Blair Crew, Daphne Gilbert, and Elizabeth Sheehy in Policy Options

“How can a system that fails half the population most of time be “great”? Who is the criminal law for? Are we honestly ready to concede the terrain and accept that women’s lives, safety and dignity are somehow outside the brief of the criminal law — “our” criminal law, to quote the Law Reform Commission of Canada?”

Former student taking UBC to human rights tribunal over inaction on sex assault accusations

National Post

A former University of British Columbia graduate student plans to go the province’s human rights tribunal over what she calls the school’s broken and dysfunctional system for reporting and processing cases of sexual assault and harassment.

Watch Lady Gaga Perform at the Oscars With Sexual Assault Survivors

Kara Brown in Jezebel

"Lady Gaga was joined onstage Sunday night by sexual assault survivors during her performance of the the Oscar nominated song “Til It Happens to You.” She lost to Sam Smith’s song from Spectre soon after, who specifically said Gaga was “incredible” during his acceptance speech."

"Action" and men's responsibility to end rape culture (Video)

Kyle Guante Tran Myhre

"This is a poem it took a very long time to write. I'm still not convinced that it's done. But I wanted to get it out there. For the record, it's not a true story. Normally, I wouldn't tell people that, but I think it's important to move past the attitude that something is only important if it's happened to you personally ..."

Jian Ghomeshi Trial: Behaviour Of Complainants Not Uncommon, Expert Says

Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press

"'I think it’s really important to know that people who have not had a shocking or traumatic experience are actually not good at predicting how they would react to such a situation,' said Charlene Senn, a social psychologist at the University of Windsor who specializes in gender studies."


The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN) is a national registered charitable organization founded in 1964 to foster professional education and public knowledge about sexuality and sexual health.

Horreurs sur les campus

Andréane Williams in Gazette des Femmes

Aryle Butler avait 18 ans lorsqu’un de ses professeurs l’a agressée sexuellement. L’étudiante en géographie à l’Université de Californie à Berkeley avait été envoyée dans un autre État pour travailler comme assistante de recherche. C’était la première fois qu’elle quittait le nid familial. « Je ne savais pas quoi faire, donc j’en ai parlé à mon supérieur, qui m’a dit que mon professeur était simplement affectueux. Une semaine plus tard, il m’a agressée de nouveau. Il n’y avait ni hôpital ni poste de police, car nous étions dans un parc national. J’ai essayé d’oublier ce qui m’était arrivé, mais deux mois plus tard, ma colocataire s’est fait violer elle aussi. C’est là que j’ai décidé de porter plainte auprès de l’université », se souvient Aryle, qui était loin de se douter de la bataille qu’elle devrait mener.

Ontario releases powerful anti-sexual violence ad

CBC News

Premier Kathleen Wynne is changing the way Ontario treats sexual violence and harassment.

Part of that plan involves a multimedia campaign including a powerful anti-sexual harassment and violence video that was posted on Youtube Friday morning with the hashtag #WhoWillYouHelp.

Super Bowl 2015: Domestic Violence PSA (Video)

Wall Street Journal

The National Football League's ad firm has created this public service announcement for No More, an umbrella organization working to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.

Windsor schools address sexual abuse policy investigations

Tom Morrison in OurWindsor

Recent investigations into sexual assault policies on Canadian campuses from national media outlets have shown neither post-secondary school in Windsor has a special system for dealing with the issue.

Canadian post-secondary schools failing sex assault victims

Emily Mathieu and Jayme Poisson in the Toronto Star

Tess Klaver was an 18-year-old first-year student at Queen’s University the year she says her boyfriend pinned her on his bed, choked her with his hands, then grabbed her hair and forced her to perform oral sex…