Sexual Violence in Universities

ur project, titled A Multi-Sector Partnership to Investigate and Develop Policy and Practice Models to Dismantle "Rape Culture" in Universities, is a seven-year project to address sexual violence on university campuses across Canada and internationally. This project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in the amount of $2.6 million (SSHRC File Number: 895-2016-1026). It is further supported by an additional $3.7 million of in kind and cash contributions from five McGill Faculties, the VP Research; 10 universities and 14 community partners.

The overarching goal of this project is to unearth, dismantle and prevent rape culture within universities, and ultimately in society, through evidence-based research that will inform sustainable curriculum and policy change. Professor Shaheen Shariff of the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, Faculty of Education, McGill University, is the Director of this seven-year SSHRC Partnership Project.

Unlike current efforts that occur in isolation, this SSHRC Partnership Project is the first of its kind to address, dismantle and prevent rape culture by means of a systemic partnered solution between the fields of law, education, arts and popular culture (Arts) and news and social media (Media). Professor Shariff brought these multidisciplinary partners together to address an issue that has remained in the media spotlight and high on public policy agenda, namely, “rape culture” and sexual violence in universities. In August 2015 and November 2016, our partners came together at McGill University to develop a strategic long-term plan whereby legal, arts and media sectors will work with participating universities to research policy and educational responses.

Three separate but integrated projects (Projects A – C) are developed to clarify complex policy, legal and educational questions that contribute to the current confusion surrounding the roots of rape culture. In particular, the three projects comprise renowned academic and community experts within the fields of:

  • Law and policy (Project A);
  • Arts and popular culture (Project B); and
  • News and social media (Project C).

Together we consider whether rape culture exists, how it is tacitly perpetuated and how universities can work with arts and media sectors on informed and sustainable responses that place student voice, agency and education at the heart of policy and curricular initiatives. 


For more about this project in the Faculty of Education at McGill Univeristy, please visit:
McGill Reporter: Over $10 million in SSHRC funding to support McGill research​
McGill Reporter: Shaheen Shariff on rape culture on university campuses​
McGill's NewsroomSSHRC Announcement, or McGill's Salle de Presse.