30 students were drugged and sexually assaulted at Western University's Medway-Sydenham Hall during orientation week.
Trigger Warning: Details of Sexual Assault and Date Rape
At Western University, a public university in London, Canada, 30 female students were allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted over the weekend of Friday, September 10. This incident of "mass assault" is highly shocking, but it appears that local news media outlets, as well as the university itself, have not prioritized the deeply upsetting allegations. Students at Western University have taken to various social media platforms in order to raise awareness about the situation, sharing their experiences of rape and drinks being roofied. On Sunday, the university released a formal statement on Twitter, but action is yet to be taken, 6ix Buzz reports.
Can we just talk about the fact that 30 girls at western university were drugged this weekend, and two sexually assaulted and it is no where to be found on the news (I legitimately found out through comment section of a tik tok)— hannah martin (she/ her/ elle) (@hannahmartinn) September 12, 2021
"#WesternU takes swift and immediate action related to gender-based and sexual violence (GBSV) allegations," the educational institution affirmed in a tweet from its official handle on September 13. "We want our campus community to know that complaints submitted will be thoroughly investigated." The university also shared resources through which victims of sexual assault could get help, including contacting a dedicated GBSV case manager and reaching out to Western’s Special Constable Service or St. Joseph’s Health Care Regional Sexual Assault Program. In addition to this, Chris Alleyne, Western’s associate vice-president of housing and ancillary service, noted that the university had increased the presence of security and special constables on campus and residences in order to protect its students. First-year students were also given “extensive sexual violence education and prevention programming” during orientation week.
By "Several" it means 30. 30 Female students.https://t.co/VH3YGbYZiI— Sarah Jenkins (@sarahjenkinsxo) September 13, 2021
Despite the implementation of these security measures, reports from 30 female students who were drugged and sexually assaulted at the university between September 6 and last weekend continue to emerge online. Several of the incidents are believe to have taken place on campus, at Medway-Sydenham Hall. This is a co-ed residential facility at Western University. Home to just over 600 students, it is the third-largest residential hall on campus. It is also the university's oldest residence still operating on campus.
As of Tuesday afternoon, London Police Chief Steve Williams said despite the rumours online they had not received any reports of drugging or sexual assault at Medway-Sydenham Hall. https://t.co/W87QoGQy18— 980 CFPL London News (@AM980News) September 15, 2021
The incidents, which are currently under investigation according to residence life coordinator Jacob Clarke, put a damper on the festivities during orientation week. Notably, members of the student body refused to perform their cheers, and in some cases, did not attend the week's closing ceremonies. Students also held a march to raise awareness about the mass sexual assault incident; During the closing ceremony, dozens of students gathered, chanting, “Western protect our students.” They proceeded to march down University College Hill in silence.
In response to Western University’s continued inadequate response and care for the victims of this OWeek, students have planned a walkout for this Friday. This isn’t over, no matter how many statements you make minimizing and ‘containing’ events. pic.twitter.com/6GAQX4iqbQ— Lesley Bikos (@LBikos) September 14, 2021
In a statement, The University Students’ Council executive reiterated, "We want to be clear: we stand with survivors of gender-based and sexual violence. We are listening and we are ready to advocate on your behalf. Students deserve to be welcomed back to a campus that is safe for everyone." While the victims await justice, local news media outlets have failed to report on the shocking incident. Members of the student body and faculty have also criticized the university for its lack of swift action, as evidence mounts. If you are a student at Western University, you can file a report through a dedicated GBSV case manager via 519-661-3568 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Those based across the United States can click here for resources.