Students called upon to help tackle gender and sexual violence on university campuses worldwide

Posted by pt91 at Feb 01, 2018 10:47 AM |
University of Leicester joins Students’ Union in harnessing student insight from 1 – 9 February

Issued by University of Leicester on 1 February 2018

Photo/media opportunity on 1 February, 11am-1.30pm, on the Events Square, University of Leicester

  • HeForShe Ideathon takes place on 1 February
  • Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week takes place from 5 – 9 February

The University of Leicester is harnessing the insight and experience of its students in a bid to stamp out sexual and gender-based violence on university campuses worldwide.

As part of its role as a HeForShe IMPACT Champion, the University will be hosting an Ideathon today (1 February) where students and staff will generate ways to answer the question ‘How can we tackle gender-based violence on university campus?’. It will be introduced by Dinal Limbachia, UN HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Programme Manager.

Leicester’s Global Ideathon will take place in the Council Suite, Fielding Johnson Building at 4pm. Working in small groups with a facilitator, students will develop ideas on tackling gender-based violence. Five of the best suggestions will then be pitched ‘Dragons’ Den-style to senior University management who will then select three to pitch to UN HeForShe via a short video.

A HeForShe marquee will be set up on the University’s Events Square between 11.00am-1.30pm where visitors can pledge their commitment to HeForShe in a Photobooth, have a go at finishing a HeForShe jigsaw and submit their suggestions for tackling gender-based violence on campus.

The University is also marking Sexual Violence and Sexual Abuse Awareness Week from 5 – 9 February with a range activities on campus to promote the message that #itsnotok as part of the Standing Together campaign with the Students’ Union.

The Caravan Theatre will be giving free performances on the themes of gender, equality and everyday sexism in the Events Square between 12noon-4pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and will be outside the Village Hub at Oadby Student Village between 5-9pm giving students the chance to watch a powerful play about sexual violence.

The week will culminate on 8 February in a debate hosted by the HeForShe and United Nations societies on key topics around gender-based violence, where students can have their say and help the University and Student’s Union stand together against all forms of gender violence on university campuses.

By 'gender violence', we mean more than just physical assault. The term encompasses all types of gender-related bullying and intimidation, some of which may be seen by the perpetrator as merely 'joking'. Gender violence can be verbal as well as physical, or can take place online. Men can be victims as well as women.

A key issue that the United Nations’s HeForShe movement is focused on is ending gender violence on campuses worldwide. For the most part, the university experience will be a safe, welcoming environment but incidents do occur on campuses worldwide and, as a HeForShe IMPACT Champion, the University of Leicester is at the forefront of making change and tackling serious issues. According to YouthSight 2015, one in three female students and one in eight male students have been sexually assaulted or abused on university campuses in the UK.

Dr Kate Williams, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality and Diversity, said: “While most people find university a welcoming environment, there are still those who are made to feel intimidated or even subject to abuse on the basis of their gender. At these events, we hope to hear from those affected by these issues and encourage them to guide us towards a solution that will genuinely make a difference.

“We believe that students should be confident to be themselves on campus without fear of discrimination or violence and we are tackling the issues that matter to our students to constantly improve their university experience.”

Harriet Smailes from the Student Welfare Service said: “Sexual harassment and sexual violence always need to be challenged and we are hoping to create a culture for everyone to be able to do that at the University of Leicester. We are hoping the events during Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Awareness Week will help to create discussions and actions to ultimately work to eliminate this behaviour.

“Both the Caravan Theatre plays and our HeForShe and UN Societies’ Debate will challenge the everyday instances of sexual and gender-based inappropriate behaviour to encourage every member of the University to stand together to do the same.”

Last year, Leicester was one of a number of universities to receive funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England for projects addressing concerns about sexual violence and harassment on campus.

The Leicester campaign focuses on developing a robust framework and is known as ‘Standing Together’. New initiatives together with existing work will be combined and embedded so that work extends beyond the project time and funding. This will involve cutting across organisational boundaries to ensure services join up, both internally and externally so that students don’t have to navigate themselves between organisational services for support.

The University of Leicester aims to be a trailblazer in gender equality. It is committed to closing the gap between men and women in key academic and career areas, in both directions; creating a cultural transformation around gender; and making public the conversation around gender, provide transparency, and actively monitor progress on these issues.


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