Fanshawe's Sexual Awareness Week offers students a sense of safety

Students seated, laughing in The Out Back Shack at Fanshawe College. CREDIT: IVAN CLINT ENRIQUEZ
Students were able to attend various events throughout the week, including Sexy Sexual Health Trivia in The Out Back Shack.

Have you noticed that recently there have been a variety of events taking place on campus in regard to sexual violence awareness? That’s because Sexual Awareness Week was held on campus between Sept. 19-23. To share the importance of sexual health and awareness, the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) presents these events to remind students that they are not alone and what resources they have access to. This article features Sexual Violence Prevention Advisor, Leah Marshall, who advocates for the students on campus in this regard.

Marshall highlighted how important it is for her to make sure survivors of sexual violence are aware of their rights and options. Sexual Awareness Week has reminded the students of Fanshawe of the importance of this topic as well as the different resources that Fanshawe provides for them when it comes to sexual health.

When the pandemic first started, many stores where students would access products that pertain to sexual health were closed. But during that time, sexual health vending machines were placed on campus in the Student Centre Building and Falcon House for students to access products such as condoms, menstrual cups, Advil, and more. It’s essentially a mini pharmacy installed for the convenience of students and for their safety.

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“By putting the machines on campus, we allow students to access these products 24/7, 365 days a year,” Marshall said.

Marshall also works one-on-one with survivors to help them navigate the legal process, support services, and other resources available to them following a sexual assault.

“Sexual violence is not about sex, it’s about power and control, so we always want to put the control back in the hands of the survivors when it comes to their healing process.”

When it comes to the programs that students can participate in, Marshall indicated that there are two to four events that take place every month. Students are encouraged to visit the FSU social media pages to stay up to date with the events that are happening on campus. One of the events that took place during Sexual Awareness Week was Sexy Sexual Health Trivia with sex and consent educator Samantha Bitty. Another on-campus program is rapid HIV testing which takes place once a month. On Sept. 23, Chanel Miller, a survivor of sexual assault shared her story and answered questions by students. These are only a few of the events that the college provides to promote sexual health and awareness.

In October, there will be four new programs that students are encouraged to participate in, including Trauma Informed Yoga. Make sure to stay connected with the FSU to know what, where, and when these programs are.

Speaking to students on campus, like Megan Lindsay, Zahra Fakhr, and Shauna Goebel, all agreed on the fact that sexual violence and awareness is important for Fanshawe to promote. They also acknowledged that knowing that the college is providing events and programs to enhance this makes them feel safe and comfortable.

“It’s important for students to know that if they have any questions about sexual health or they’re wondering about supports on campus, if they’ve been subjected to gender-based violence that I’m a confidential support,” said Marshall “They don’t have to tell me anything about what happened to them to be able to receive support, but if they do share information with me it does stay between them and I.”

Marshall is located in the Counselling and Accessibility office at Fanshawe’s main campus, F2010. If you would like to meet with Marshall, she encourages students to email her, and she can meet with people in person, Zoom, or over the phone.