QSACK Talks podcast discusses impact of sexual violence at Queen’s

Podcast launches first episode this week on Spotify

The first episode came out March 16.
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Editor’s note: One member of The Journal’s editorial board is a podcast coordinator for the QSACK Talks podcast.

Queen’s x Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (QSACK) has launched a new podcast aiming to provide open dialogue on sexual violence in all its forms, with a special focus on sexual violence at Queen’s and in the Kingston community.   

The podcast’s debut episode—which was released March 16 on Spotify—provides a background on sexual violence, defines a number of related terms, and discusses the prevalence of sexual violence at Queen’s. 

The podcast, which is hosted by Rebecca Laskin, ArtSci ’23, and Carolyn Svonkin, ArtSci ’22, takes an intersectional approach to the subject. 

“We acknowledge that sexual violence is not an experience that can be painted with one brush,” Laskin said in the podcast’s first episode. “Gender, race, socioeconomic status, and mental and physical abilities and other identities interact with sexuality and sexual violence.”

Though both hosts noted in the inaugural episode that they’re only able to speak from their own lived experiences, they hope to have a diverse range of guests on the podcast to allow for a diversity of opinions and lived experiences. 

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Maryam Pandil, the executive director of SACK, will be a guest on the upcoming episode of the podcast. 

As a gender studies student, Laskin has been volunteering with QSACK since her first year at Queen’s. She said she became involved with the podcast to help contribute to an open dialogue on issues surrounding sexual violence. 

“I’m a gender studies major, so for me, because I’m getting that education that’s so necessary, I believe it’s not only important to educate yourself on these issues but also important to put [this education] into action,” she said in an interview with The Journal. 

The debut episode of the podcast reviewed a number of terms associated with sexual violence, and discussed a number of statistics on the prevalence of sexual violence at Queen’s and other post-secondary institutions. 

In the landscape of sexual violence at all universities, a national survey from Statistics Canada reported that four in five female undergraduate students have experienced violence in dating relationships. 

Twenty-nine per cent of these individuals reported experiencing sexual assault, with 50 per cent of these incidents occurring in their first year of undergraduate study. 

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The podcast will include two recurring segments on every episode. One of these segments will provide a platform for survivors to share their stories through an anonymous form. 

“With this segment we want to provide a forum for survivors to share their stories completely anonymously without discussing anything at any more length than they are comfortable with,” Svonkin said in the first podcast episode. “We hope this will provide a safe space for stories to be told without identity, judgment and fear being attached.”

The other segment will focus on stories centred around sexual violence in the media, how sexual violence is being reported, and how the reporting contributes to overall discourse on sexual violence. 

“Sexual violence is such a prevalent issue that so many people forget is so real and it can happen to anyone. Right now, the conversation surrounding [sexual violence] has been broken open with what happened to Sarah [Everard],” Laskin told The Journal. “We recorded our first episode before that and sexual violence wasn’t being discussed as it is now, so I think it’s really interesting that this event has happened and has opened up the dialogue [about the topic], and I hope our podcast contributes to that.”        

“I feel very strongly that everyone has a duty to discuss these issues and has a duty to look out to one another. I think it’s really upsetting that these issues are so prevalent on campus and there’s so much that needs to be done.”

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