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Algonquin initiative aims to create supportive community

While victims of sexual assault are continuously coming forward with their stories, many young people are still reluctant to share.

Those were the words of Ally Crockford, the public educator at the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre who spoke at Algonquin on Jan. 24.

“I think this fair is hugely important because sexual violence occurs on college campuses every day and it’s not something that people necessarily feel comfortable talking about when they’re younger,” she said in an interview at the Project Lighthouse Fair. “Knowing that services are available, knowing that you have the right to say no and knowing that you have the right to good and consensual sex is really important.”

Project Lighthouse, a college initiative, was joined by on and off-campus partners to provide information about the varying resources available in the area, and to teach about the importance of healthy relationships.

“We do a lot of different styles of events but this one is really good to learn about community and campus resources,” said Sarah Crawford, the sexual violence prevention and harm reduction coordinator at the college. “We set it up in a way that really encourages people to learn about the different supports available not only to them, but maybe to the people in their lives who have experienced sexual assault.”

The event seemed to have its desired impact on the students who attended.

“I really had fun here today and the information they provided was awesome,” said Mishika Jaiswal, a human resource management student. “Project Lighthouse is doing a very good job here.”

The conversation about sexual violence on campus isn’t over, but Project Lighthouse is continuing to put on events for the duration of the semester to keep reaching out to survivors and their loved ones.

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