Open Secrets, Power and Professors:

A study on Rape Culture and Accountability at Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions 

Background on the project:

In the past two years, there has been a resounding cry led by students on Canadian campuses to improve postsecondary policies and practices around campus sexual violence. As campuses begin to acknowledge the existence of rape culture in their communities, post-secondary administrators have highlighted orientation week/frosh, fraternities and sororities, and excessive drinking as areas of concern. In both academic and non-academic settings, a large volume of research has focused on sexual violence that follows a student-on-student pattern. In contrast, little attention and few resources have been invested in exploring how other power structures within academia contribute to rape culture on campuses. In the context of the #MeToo movement, public conversations around sexual violence have shifted more attention to issues of power, hierarchy, and coercion, and in turn, to the problem of sexual violence and/or harassment perpetrated by professors on campuses - an issue that is very under researched.   

The Research Project:

Through this research project, SFCC is aiming to gain more information and knowledge on various dimensions of faculty sexual violence, to contribute to public understanding of the scale and impacts of the issue, and to inform policy solutions. Mixed methods will enable the team to explore this issue from a range of angles and to create as nuanced and detailed a picture as possible. In order to collect data for the report, we have launched an online survey for current or former students at Canadian post- secondary institutions (linked here, takes approximately 25 minutes to complete), and an online survey for current or former faculty members at Canadian post-secondary institutions (linked here, takes approximately 25 minutes to complete). The survey is anonymous. We are also setting up interviews for anyone who would like to give more in depth information. Interviews will be conducted in person or via video call, and will last approximately one to two hours. All data from both the survey and the interviews will be anonymized. More information on data storage and confidentiality can be found in our confidentiality forms for the survey (link), and for the interview (link). 

A Note on Anonymity and SFCC Core Values:

The research questions for this project adhere to SFCC’s guiding principles, most importantly that this work be survivor and student driven, feminist, anti-colonial, and intersectional. Survivor-centered work draws directly from survivors’ words and analyses. We are a group led by student survivors and consent is something we value and prioritize in all of our work. For that reason, although some individuals may want us to publish either their names or names of other people in this report, we want to explicitly state that in this report we will not be publishing anyone’s names in order to maintain the same level of anonymity and protection for everyone who participates in this project.

If you have any questions about the project or wish to set up an interview, you can reach us at

***A note - all of SFCC’s projects are funded by community groups, student groups, and individuals from across the country! We aim to keep ourselves solely accountable to the communities we aim to work with, namely students and anti-sexual violence community groups.***