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Five Ideas...Tackling sexual harassment on campus

Friday 30-09-2016 - 10:52

Sexual harassment is intolerable, and students’ unions are providing inspirational leadership in combatting it.

Students’ unions are beginning work on their plans for the year, and many will be preparing to tackle the incidence of sexual assault and harassment on campus.

As inspiration for your campaigns for the year, here are just a few examples of the ground-breaking work done around the country during the last couple of years:

University College London Union

After more than two years of lobbying from UCLU, their institution officially adopted a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment in January. The campaign focused on education and empowerment around the culture that exists within universities and was developed by UCLU Women’s Officers over a number of years. A change in policy from UCL was a major achievement for the campaign, but the work continues. Read more about UCLU’s Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment campaign here.

Oxford University Students’ Union

OUSU’s sexual violence campaign It Happens Here found that 69 per cent of women students had experienced sexual assault during their time at the university. As part of their response, they have been training ‘First Responders’ who are able to receive disclosures. Joining forces with Code4Rights they then developed the First Response App, which contains information for survivors and supporters, and brought together a community of women to tackle sexual harassment in their city.

Queen Mary University London Students’ Union

QMUSU launched their zero tolerance campaign two years ago, by setting up in the university’s Library Square and inviting students to sign a pledge to make their campus free from sexual harassment. The initiative formed part of NUS’ nationwide Reclaim Your Campus campaign which 16 days of activism against gender violence by students from across the country.

Kings College London Students’ Union

KCLSU teamed up with the university on the hugely successful It Stops Here campaign, which seeks to build a campus environment in which everyone feels welcome, supported and safe. The campaign website is full of clear information on the prevalence of sexual harassment and how it can be tackled. It gives students loads of options of ways to get involved, from active bystander training to unconscious bias workshops.

Warwick Students’ Union

Chloe Wynne ran to become Warwick SU Women’s Officer in order to get rid of the so-called ‘blurred lines’ of consent. To promote this, she launched a series of provocative posters which turned sexual song lyrics upside down. With catchy songs stuck in students’ heads, the new lyrics would be sure to be taken on board. The posters also directed people towards a dedicated webpage which provides further support.

There are loads more students' unions running innovative campaigns against sexual harassment, including Never OK from UEASU and Exeter Guild, We Get It! from Manchester SU, Know the Line from Plymouth SU, We've Got Your Back from Leeds SU, and No Blurred Lines from FXU.

For further support in developing anti-harassment campaigns on your campus, visit the Tackling Lad Culture hub.

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Campaigns, Features, Women

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