Respect, Educate, Empower, Survivors (REES) is now available to students

By: Ainslee Asham

Red River College has implemented a new reporting platform for sexual violence survivors, making it easier for students and staff to report sexual violence on campus, anonymously or not. 

Jess Spindler, Resource and Resolution Advisor for Red River College, has partnered with Ending Violence Across Manitoba (EVA) to impose a new Respect, Educate, Empower, Survivors (REES) reporting tool directed at students and staff who have experienced sexual violence on campus. 

“The idea of the tool is to leave everything in the hands of the survivor by asking specific questions to gain relevant information,” Spindler said. 

Once the particulars are entered into the encrypted system, the victims can choose whether they would like to file the report or keep the data on file for future reference. 

Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus lit up in the evening./AINSLEE ASHAM

 “It is important for the person who experienced the trauma to feel in control of the process and to be informed of their next steps, built right into the platform,” said Spindler. 

The REES platform provides the person reporting with customized resources to community or campus-based services and local supports. This gives the survivor critical information regarding reporting options, resources, and supports nearby.  

“As a female student at Red River, it is highly reassuring and comforting to know the school has provided us access to such an important tool,” said Alexa Peters, a Business Administration student. “I feel this tool will help generate more information and overall make our school a safer place.”

Mary Lobson, founded REES in 2019.

“Sexual violence is so prevalent on some campuses and impacts academic pursuit and [the survivor’s whole] life.” said Lobson.

RRC campuses were one of ten other post-secondary institutions to utilize this reporting tool. 

“Anonymous reporting is an opportunity to provide valuable data to the institution,” said Lobson.

Spindler said survivors can choose to report anonymously, report to the college or report to the police.

“The tool offers more information before making a report, it is less direct and allows the survivor to work through recording the details and then deciding what to do next,” she said.

The REES reporting platform is now featured through RRC’s No Wrong Door site, along with counselling and crisis services.