Research that Makes a Difference

This article is from WLUFA Advocate 4.2 October 2015.

Three studies by Laurier faculty and students seek to learn more about gendered violence on our campuses, and what needs to be done to end it.

Student Research and Action

Karly Rath, 2015 Graduate of the Journalism program, Laurier Brantford

In Fall 2014, six Laurier students – Brittany Bennett, Taylor Berzins, Layla Bozich, Karly Rath, Nadine Saba and Neha Soni – conducted a research project exploring how WLU compares to other Ontario universities in its effort to combat sexual violence. After doing a social media scan and qualitative interviews, they conducted two content analyses that concluded (i): WLU fulfills less than five percent of the recommendations in the Ontario Women’s Directorate’s university guide “Developing a Response to Sexual Violence,” and (ii) words used in reference to the survivors of sexual assault appeared approximately five times more often than words referring to the perpetrators or their punishments in an analysis of news articles. These student and alumni researchers have (cont’d on pg 2)now founded Advocates for a Student Culture of Consent (ASCC), which is now working on a comprehensive consent campaign.


Read more about the research findings here .


The Change Project

Ginette Lafrenière, Director, Social Innovation Research Group


The Change Project aims to explore the institutional and cultural climate of WLU relative to the issue of gendered violence in order to provide evidence-based recommendations to improve prevention and response efforts. The mixed methods research project which surveyed almost 600 students and interviewed 50 key informants, reported that WLU students experience a range of incidents that fall along the spectrum of gendered violence; however, there is ambiguity around identifying, reporting and responding to these experiences. Among its recommendations are:

institutionalization of policies and procedures aimed at supporting students implementation of a pro-social bystander program as well as other strategies to ensure an authentic, consistent and sustainable commitment to addressing gendered violence at WLU.


Read more about Dr. Lafrenière’s research here .


Engaging Students in Research, Policy Making and Support

Drs. Marcia Oliver, Debra Langan, and Rebecca Godderis


Confronting Rape Culture and Resistance to Anti-Violence Discourse involved extensive training of graduate and undergraduate student Research Assistants, preparing them to facilitate student focus groups with 36 young women and men on the Laurier Brantford campus last winter. During the focus groups, students spoke about their understandings and experiences of rape culture and their concerns about safety on campus. Students also provided concrete suggestions to the campus community for addressing rape culture and sexual violence at Laurier Brantford.


The preliminary results from this research, along with six prioritized recommendations, have been published as a report for Laurier’s Gendered Violence Taskforce, and presented to senior administration on the Laurier Brantford campus. (Follow the link above to read the report in full.)


For more information, please contact Dr. Marcia Oliver (at





This entry was posted in Uncategorized, WLUFA Advocate and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s