One out of four women will be a victim of sexual violence during their university years—often during the first semester.
“As women, we’ve been taught to look in the shadows for a monster,” said Amber Huva, Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Manager. “Really, more often than not it is perpetrated by someone they knew or just recently met.”
Determining the definition of consent is a priority for the President’s Task Force on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, ensuring that policies and plans are in place to educate students and provide support for those impacted by sexual violence. “We need to stop thinking of this as a women’s problem—this is everybody’s problem,” Amber insisted.
Within Amber’s first year, her mission was to connect with students, and serve as a trusted resource and support system. The timeline of an assault is not a concern.
“Whether this happened last night or a year ago,” she said, her office offers a safe place to discuss feelings and devise a plan for moving forward. “My hope is that trust and rapport is built over time… I want students to know I’m taking their lead—they get to decide what and how they want to share their story.”
Beyond the legal and physical ramifications, the emotional health of the survivor is paramount; returning to studies and solace is a challenge. Support is essential, guidance a necessity when dealing with the painful aftermath. The thread of violence and preventative recourse runs deep; the work lies in continuous sexual education and developing what Amber refered to as “collective wisdom on campus”.
In the meantime, survivors of sexual violence can be assured there is unending care, sympathy and understanding to be found at TRU. “There are lots of choices in how students can receive support.”
Amber’s office hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Counselling Department is open Monday to Friday from 8 to 4. Check in with the front desk or call 250-828-5023 to make an appointment.
For more information about sexual violence, safety, consent, resources and support, refer to TRU’s Sexual Violence website.