Societies Spotlight Sexual violence is feared by many, yet is not addressed to the level it should be - especially in higher education. Let’s Talk is a student run campaign at the University of Glasgow, made up of campaigners from many different student bodies (GU Amnesty International, Sexpression, GU Feminist Society, Isabella Elder Feminist Society, and GU Mental Wealth), with the aim of tackling this issue which is hiding in plain sight. As part of the campaign, the organisers have come up with seven measures they will be petitioning the university with, to tackle sexual violence on campus, and end it for good.
“If a university wants to keep its students, it should try to prevent traumatic incidents from recurring within its social bounds” Seven Measures: · Amend the University of Glasgow’s Student Code of Conduct to include a clause prohibiting sexual violence on campus and detailing how to report the incident as a survivor, a bystander, and an assailant · Introduce mandatory sensitivity training for all student body (GUSA, GUU, QMU, SRC) executives. · Introduce specific Sexual Violence Prevention Training for all Freshers’ Helpers. · Introduce Bystander Intervention Training for all New Students (first year, study
abroad, and transfer). · Highlight and publicise all services available within the University and the city of Glasgow through: - verbal communication in conjunction with the Bystander Intervention course - a booklet listing all services and proper reporting procedures - a designated and accessible space on the University’s website. · Launch a social media campaign that specifically targets sexual assault on campus. · Host a Service “Meet and Greet” Fair: - An event similar to Career Services’ Employers Fair, but with sexual health services. - Open to all students to openly engage in a discussion about sexual health and violence whilst empowering themselves with the knowledge about existing services. Ellen MacAskill of Let’s Talk commented; “The Let’s Talk Campaign came together as individuals and societies realised that action has to be taken at university to prevent sexual violence, and GU are not doing enough at this point. Similar campaigns have been appearing in other campuses across the world but so far this seems to be the only of its kind in Scotland. Increasing numbers of people are speaking out about sexual violence, and the less taboo there is around the topic the more we can do about it. One of the main goals of Let’s Talk as a campaign is to avoid victimblaming. Personal safety measures can be important and make people feel safer, but they are not going to end violence. Every
time we read advice telling us not to drink too much on a date or leave a bar alone, we should see twice as many billboards saying: “respect people’s bodily autonomy and don’t rape”. In the proposed bystander intervention courses, discussion of consent would be central, and an understanding of this is the first step. The grassroots element of the campaign forces the university to recognise that this is a problem and something the student body cares about. Pragmatically, the university is a business and will only invest in welfare services if they see that it would be detrimental not to do so. If students are survivors of assault, that can hinder their education and force them to leave. If a university wants to keep its students, it should try to prevent traumatic incidents from occurring within its social bounds. The geographical location of campus is less important than the social position that all students are in. We are not asking for more lighting beside the library. We are asking, for example, that every student at a party in halls has participated in an anti-assault workshop. Violence can happen anywhere, including in intimate relationships. If any survivor or perpetrator of violence is a student at GU, then GU has a responsibility to that incident.” Sign up to the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-glasgow-please-implementthese-7-measures-to-keep-students-safe-from-sexual-violence2?recruiter=43126270&utm_ source=share_petition&utm_ medium=facebook&utm_ campaign=autopublish&utm_ term=mob-xs-share_petition-reason_msg
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