Safety for everyone

I knew when I wrote my editorial last week asking you about multiculturalism there would be discussion.

I have received responses, some in the form of letters, some comments on our website, and some e-mails from students who shared their thoughts but didn’t want their name published. Instead of repeating myself, I’m going to let Mr. Ahmed, Ms. Kalifa, and Ms. Khalid lead the discussion on last week’s topic. They all present different views and suggestions on how we can make our campus a better place for everyone. In the meantime, I’ll look at how we can make it a safer place.

As we start our first week of November, it gets dark outside earlier, there are fewer people on campus after 6 p.m. and I, for one, feel a little uneasy being on campus at night. No, it’s not because I’m afraid of the dark—there’s a real fear that I’m sure some people on campus have. I usually leave campus after the paper is sent to our printers around 1 a.m. and every week it gets a little more uneasy. Like many students, I park my car in the underground lot of CCT and everytime I have to go to my car I dread that walk. There are no spaces on any other lot, so I have to go to P5, which is secluded, poorly lit, and has no cell-phone service. Of course, we have campus police on patrol and our campus is pretty small, so what’s so scary about walking around on campus at night? Or taking a stroll down the five-minute walk when it appears there are no lights?

Am I just paranoid? I don’t think so. Maybe I worry because despite the protection, there are so many cases of sexual harassment (or attempts at it) reported on campuses each year, and even more that go unreported.

In addition to the fear of being assaulted, I’m also concerned with the problem that victims are often accused of “asking for it” because of their “provocative” outfit choices or location. If I was walking to my car in the underground late on a Sunday night because I work on campus, and was assaulted, would someone say that I “asked for it”? This fear isn’t discussed as often, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought about it.

We have some popular pub nights on campus, such as Halloween Pub (held last Thursday), where many people dress in costumes and are under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, in our society, when a female is assaulted in circumstances like that, it sometimes gets dismissed as her fault for that kind of behaviour, being in that setting, and her costume choice.

I wonder, how can we make this campus a safer place, one where you can wear what you want and walk around at night without worrying that you might be “asking for it”?


Saaliha Malik

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