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We are truly excited to announce our University of Birmingham Hollaback Campaign. The possibility for this campaign is HUGE. It isn’t right that Birmingham students are experiencing street harassment whilst on campus, in lectures, in halls, at union bars and in club nights. We will highlight the problem, record incidents, empower people to hollaback, join with other campaigns and organisations at the university, and make changes.
This Friday 19th October, the campaign will officially launch at the University of Birmingham (UoB) campus.
It is the right time, as there is tremendous momentum at the UoB to tackle this issue. The Guild has recently been accredited by the NUS as a ‘Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment Union’ in response to recent national NUS research that found 68% of respondents have been a victim of one or more kinds of sexual harassment on campus during their time as a student. Harassment is defined by the Guild ‘a pattern of behaviour that is unwelcome and has the effect of violating a person’s dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them’. Street harassment is all of these things. We are meeting with Katherine East, the Vice President of Welfare, to raise awareness that street harassment is a pervasive form of gender based harassment and should be covered by the Zero Tolerance policy. This will give our campaign official backing, with real muscle. It also means the start of a zero tolerance approach in any union area, of leering, shouting, grabbing, touching etc – how fantastic would that be.
The UoB Women’s Association is currently discussing street harassment as an important issue. We are meeting with some great women from the group on Friday who already do presentations and discussions about the subject. We hope to join forces and spread the message around the university through workshops and talks.
We are hoping to meet with the LGBTQ soc to get their members’ thoughts on the campaign and how we can tackle gendered street harassment at university from every experience and angle.
THIS ISN’T ALL. We are also taking part in a workshop with MP Stella Creasy, who is leading a Campaigns Workshop on campus from 6pm – 8pm. It is specifically calling for an end to violence against women and girls. The workshop is to help people improve leadership and campaigning skills in order to run local campaigns to stop violence. Stella Creasy is a Labour MP who, to quote our American Hollaback sisters – is pretty badass. This is her twitter . The workshop is in conjunction with national charity, Women’s Aid.
Hollaback Birmingham is only as good as the people involved and we need your help to drive this campaign forward! If you’ve experienced any street harassment on or off campus please share your experience here – it is only through gathering stories that we will have a powerful argument against street harassment and be able to influence policy and behaviour.
We’d love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved. We need a wide cross section of skills to achieve more. Any amount of time you can spare is appreciated.
There is so much I want to tell you…Those with a greater attention pan should read on.
*The UoB has set up a Harassment Advice Service; it is great to have such a set up which not all universities provide.
They say: “Harassment Advisers are dedicated to making the University of Birmingham a safe and positive environment in which to work and study.”
*UoB also have a Harassment and Bullying policy, read it here.
* Zero Policy accreditation is part of a nationwide NUS (National Union of Students) Zero Tolerance Campaign which launched last year.
They say: “The principle behind the Zero Tolerance Campaign is simple. We’re asking you to stand up and say that sexual harassment is not tolerated in your union, or at your union events. By becoming a Zero Tolerance Union you can help tackle the high levels of sexual harassment in our institutions, and you can help end the culture of acceptability that leaves such behaviour unchallenged.”
*The NUS published a report in 2010 called Hidden Marks, which launched the Zero Policy Campaign.
About: “Hidden Marks is the first ever nationwide report into women students’ experience of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault. The report documents the findings of a survey carried out by the National Union of Students exploring the prevalence and nature of violence against women students. The UK-wide study provides a snapshot of the experiences of women students today. It includes information about how likely women students are to experience harassment and violence, the extent to which they report these crimes, and to whom, the profile of offenders, and the impact of such incidences on women students’ health, relationships and education.”
*Hidden Marks’ Key findings:
*1 in 7 survey respondents has experienced a serious physical or sexual assault during their time as a student;
*12% have been stalked while at university or college;
*68% of respondents have been a victim of one or more kinds of sexual harassment on campus during their time as a student;
*16% of respondents have experienced unwanted kissing, touching or molesting during their time as a student;
*More than 1 in 10 has been a victim of serious physical violence;
*Students were the majority of perpetrators in most categories (except physical violence where 48% of offenders were students);
*In the majority of cases in all incident categories surveyed, the perpetrator was known to the victim;
*In the incident categories for which relevant data is available, the majority of perpetrators were male (89% for stalking and 73% for physical violence)
*Only 4% of women students who have been seriously sexually assaulted have reported it to their institution;
*Only 10% of women students who have been seriously sexually assaulted have reported it to the police;
*Of those who did not report serious sexual assault to the police, 50% said it was because they felt ashamed or embarrassed, and 43% because thought they would be blamed for what happened.
Please read more here:
Guild Zero Tolerance policy: http://www.guildofstudents.com/zerotolerance.
Katherine East, Vice President Of Welfare: http://www.guildofstudents.com/we-are-your-officers/katherine-east
Women’s Association’s Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/ctz9xzv.
LGBT Soc Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/cu5ck8u
Stella Creasy MP: http://www.workingforwalthamstow.org.uk/ (I don’t know why this isn’t working sorry- copy and paste into a browser)
Women’s Aid: http://www.womensaid.org.uk/
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