“She didn’t report it because she had been drinking”

"One of my daughters was sexually assaulted on a university campus," said University of Regina president, Vianne Timmons. Derek Putz/Global News

REGINA – University of Regina President Vianne Timmons is very vocal about sexual assault on campus.

“I have four children, three daughters and one of my daughters was sexually assaulted on a university campus,” she said. “She didn’t report it because she had been drinking and she felt like that somehow made her responsible for it and so I recognized quickly that there are young women who don’t recognize their rights and they don’t have the support in place to help them.”

The young woman was typical of many university students. Vulnerable and away from home for the first time, they’re most likely to experience sexual assault in their first year of study. However, it’s estimated around 90 percent of cases of sexual assault go unreported.

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Timmons knows it takes advocates to encourage the silent to speak up. She got permission from her daughter to tell her personal story in order to illustrate the importance of leadership in tackling sexual assault.

While her daughter never reported the incident to police (even though her mother wanted her to), she did something else, which is arguably more courageous: with the help of a mediator, she confronted her attacker.

“And she told him how it made her feel and how difficult it was for her to cope with it – and both had been drinking – and he actually cried. He was shocked at how hurt and vulnerable she was,” Timmons explained.

The University of Regina Board of Governors voted in favour of a new campus sexual assault policy.

“The vulnerability of our young women is there, but also a real inner strength that I know I would never have had at 19 years old,” said Timmons. “My sharing that was to say that we have very strong young women and they are amazing and we should support them.”

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