Shaheen Shariff on rape culture on university campuses

Professor Shaheen Shariff of the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, Faculty of Education has embarked upon an ambitious seven-year project to address sexual violence on university campuses across Canada and internationally. The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in the amount of $2.5 million (see Reporter story), further supported by an additional $3.7 million of in kind and cash contributions from five McGill Faculties, the VP Research; 10 universities and 14 community partners.

Shariff brought these partners together to address an issue that has remained in the media spotlight and high on public policy agenda, namely, “rape culture” and sexual violence in universities.

The partners came together in August 2015 to develop a strategic long-term plan whereby legal, arts and media sectors will work with participating universities to research policy and educational responses.

One of their primary objectives is to engage students and sector-partners in critical examination and dialogues. Together they will consider whether rape culture exists, how it is tacitly perpetuated and how universities can work with arts and media sectors on informed and sustainable responses that place student voice, agency and education at the heart of policy and curricular initiatives. Speaking with the Reporter, Shariff explains her rationale.