The National Union of Students have launched a campaign against gender based violence on UK campuses.
The campaign named “Reclaim Your Campus” is a campaign which focuses on 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, taking place from 25th November to the 10th December.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of violence against women, to build relationships between students’ unions and local support services and to encourage students to lobby their institutions to sign the Reclaim Your Campus pledge, as well as reform their policies and structures to protect students from sexual harassment and assault.
The pledge encourages institutions to commit to:
1. To adopt a zero tolerance stance on all forms of violence against women.
2. To inform all student-facing members of staff about how to respond to student reports of sexual harassment and assault.
3. To identify staff members from across departments to be linked and trained by specialist support services in the community.
4. To make a public commitment to investigate when students report sexual harassment and assault.
5. To hold events in partnership with the students’ union and anti-sexual violence expert organisations about sexual consent.
6. To integrate sexual consent education workshops into student inductions.
7. To investigate the level of harassment and assault on campus and publicly publish the results.
8. To not provide funding to student organisations that host events or promote behaviour that encourages sexual harassment and assault.
9. To commit to providing adequate sexual harassment and assault counselling and services for students and clearly signpost these services.
10. To engage in the NUS National strategy to tackle ‘Lad Culture’ on campuses and to actively promote equality between all genders.
The actions that students’ unions are being encouraged to hold on their campuses as part of the campaign include consent workshops, poster making, photo projects, spoken word readings, fundraising activities and craftivism events.
NUS research from 2010 found that one in seven students were victims of sexual assault or violence. In September this year NUS research found that one in four students have suffered unwelcome sexual advances, defined as inappropriate touching and groping. Susuana Antubam, NUS women’s officer, said:
“Our research has consistently shown that sexual harassment is rife on campus, but we still keep hearing from institutions that there is no fear, no intimidation and no problem. The passing the buck approach of ‘not on my campus’ is completely unacceptable. They must acknowledge the problems and join us in confronting them.
“To be able to see real change, we need the whole of the educational community to step up and be active in creating safer campuses, which is why NUS is encouraging all students and students’ unions to lobby their institutions to commit to our Reclaim Your Campus pledge. Our pledge has ten demands focusing on embedding policy, education, support, and training into every educational community, which we want to see institutions take action on.”Tweet