My name is Alex and I am a member of the Youth4Change project here at CCASA. Over the course of the summer, I will be blogging my experiences, feelings and thoughts around the issue of sexual violence. I am currently attending the University of Guelph and am enrolled in Biomedical Science. My fascination with science as well as my strong beliefs in human rights has led me directly to CCASA.
Before being introduced to CCASA, my beliefs around sexual violence were somewhat influenced by the popular beliefs of our society. Being a female at university, I have been bombarded by messages telling me to watch my drink when I go out to the bars and to never walk alone at night. These messages I had come to accept. I never looked deeper into the issue because if I followed a few simple guidelines, my risk of being sexually assaulted was drastically decreased. Why would I question them if they made me safer?
Being introduced to CCASA has allowed me to look at popular beliefs of society as well as my own beliefs from a different perspective. Many of society’s beliefs take away the blame from the offenders. It was a series of choices they made that led them to sexually assault someone. At CCASA we place the blame back on the offenders. My whole experience here has changed my mindset around the issue of sexual violence. It’s not that I wasn’t open minded about the issue before; it was simply that I was never introduced to a new way of looking at it.
I was never comfortable when someone would tell a sexist, racist or homophobic joke but I just laughed politely to avoid any confrontation. I was never confident in my ability to explain why I felt uncomfortable or to express my dislike in a non confrontational way. CCASA has provided me with confidence and vocabulary to question discriminatory comments and jokes in an understanding manner. I hope to be able to show people a different way of thinking that reflects CASSA’s philosophies. I once held those popular beliefs but have changed my mindset since joining Youth4change. I challenge you to look at your beliefs in a new light.
Can’t wait for next time…