SFU students (from left) Joy Marlinga

SURREY IN FOCUS: Making campus a safer place

SFU students parter with Surrey Women's Centre to address university safety.

Each time she stayed late at school to study, she’d plan ahead.

Not because she had to be home at a certain time or arrange a ride with a classmate. But because she was concerned about her safety when she left.

Joy Marlinga, a fourth-year business major at SFU, says when she used to study at the Burnaby campus until 1 or 2 a.m., she’d either park her car on the top floor of the parkade – a better lit and more visible area – or find a spot close to the door so she wouldn’t have to walk far by herself at night.

She knew there were security guards that would be happy to accompany her, but like many students, often wouldn’t bother.

While Marlinga’s fears have never come to fruition, they are not unfounded.

Statistics show that nearly one in five women will be assaulted during their undergraduate years, and of those, 80 per cent don’t feel safe reporting their experience.

The figures are ones the Surrey Women’s Centre (SWC) knows well.

So when Marlinga and three SFU classmates – Neha Noor, Scott Hirsch and Rizwan Qaiser – were tasked last spring with coming up with a business project with a non-profit organization, the idea of working with the SWC developed organically.

What followed were a series of “coffee houses” at the Surrey and Burnaby SFU campuses with a dual purpose: raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault and collect emails from participants interested supporting SWC and/or in participating in a survey about campus safety.

“We realized that university campuses are a target for those who are assaulted because there’s minimal light late at night and a lot of unsupervised areas and so we wanted to bring that forth with the survey,” Marlinga said.

The survey includes general queries addressing student perception of their safety on campus, as well as more specific questions about the accessibility of transit and lighting.

Sarah Watts, community giving liaison with SWC, said while men are sometimes victimized, women are more often the targets.

“If we look at the rates of sexual violence, it’s definitely more of a female issue.”

That said, the students and SWC are cognizant of the positive role men can play.

“Whether it’s a male who could be sexually assaulted in the future, or they have a female friend confiding in them about an abusive relationship … at least that person has the resource for their friend, for their cousin, for their sister,” said Marlinga.

The survey (at http://bit.ly/1WJI9e1) will be up until at least late October.

“We’ll be in touch with the school administration and the SFU Women’s Centre, so we’ll forward the results to them,” said Watts, adding there may also be workshops created for SFU staff on how to recognize abuse.

And, she noted, though the study only involves SFU at this point, it’s “definitely something that could be transferred to other universities.”

For every person who completes the campus safety survey, $1 will be contributed by an anonymous donor to the SWC’s 24-hour crisis line (604-583-1295).

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Free pads, tampons now available in Surrey school washrooms

Menstrual products previously given out to students upon request

Surrey student selected as Loran Award recipient

Award is valued at $100K over four years of undergraduate studies

‘Coldest Night’ walk in Whalley aims to raise $25K on Saturday

Live music, food and commemorative toques attract teams to national event held annually

Former Cloverdale church elder pleads guilty to sexual assault

Brian Batke, 73, entered guilty plea Feb. 14

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

UPDATE: TransLink gets injunction ahead of pipeline, Indigenous rights protest

The protest rally is in opposition to the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipeline projects

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Mysterious bang booms over Sumas Mountain once again

Police unsure of source, quarry companies say, ‘not us’

Most Read