May 31, 2016
Toronto, Ontario - York University -- In 2015, PhD student and Teaching Assistant, Mandi Gray filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging the school’s policy on sexual assault discriminates against victims, a majority of whom are women. This is a systemic case and has the potential to lead to large-scale remedy across the country.
Silence is Violence is currently seeking current and former York university community members with similar experiences to Mandi to testify that the failure to support sexual violence survivors is a systemic issue on campus.
Silence is Violence has retained Joanna Birenbaum, a senior lawyer with expertise in the areas of social justice, human rights, sexual and gendered violence.
Following her sexual assault, Mandi was required to disclose details of her assault to numerous York University employees. She was processed through an internal tribunal at the university without her consent and against legal advice advising her not to participate due to an ongoing criminal investigation. Mandi was forced to endure numerous barriers before being able to return to campus.
Silence is Violence is seeking community members (including staff, faculty and students) who have reported sexual assault to York University. We are also looking to speak to staff or faculty who have had students/colleagues disclose sexual assault to them and have acted as an advocate or support person during the process.
The specific details of the assault will not be discussed but rather the process following the report or disclosure to York University.
The case is precedent setting and may result in larger systemic changes at university campuses across the country.
Witnesses will not be required to pay legal fees to participate in the tribunal hearing but will be required to take time off work to testify, if required.
**Sexual assault is defined as any act that is sexual in nature and is not consensual. This may range from unwanted touching, groping, forced oral sex or rape. The sexual assault may have taken place on or off campus.
All communication is confidential.
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