Ryled Up: Mandi Gray of Silence is Violence24 September 2015 / by Emily Joveski (author)
A conference on university sexual violence will take place this weekend, hosting administrators from universities and colleges from Canada and the United States. Students, however, have not been invited. Hosted by the for-profit Ryley Conference Group, conference tickets are set at a whopping $900, a price point that many students can't afford. Mandi Gray is PhD student in Sociology at York University and a member of Silence is Violence (SIV), a feminist student group at York that aims to combat rape culture on university campuses. Gray says that her group contacted the organizers of the Ryley conference to request to participate at a reduced ticket price, and never received a response. Taking issue with what they say is a conference that excludes the voices of students and survivors of sexual violence, SIV decided to host their own "counter conference" on the same weekend. The Ryled Up: counter conference on campus sexual violence will take place September 24-25 at University of Toronto.
I spoke with Mandi Gray about her experience with her university after she reported her rape, how university sexual violence policies still fall short, and how survivors of sexual violence need to be included and heard in discussions of these policies.