Hollaback! ULU Report Cross-campus sexual harassment research
Hollaback! ULU Executive Summary
Appendix A: Survey Design
Appendix B: Participant Profile
Welcome to the Hollaback! ULU report, the first ever University of London wide report on sexual harassment on campuses. This report is part of the Hollaback! ULU campaign, a London wide program to tackle sexual harassment on campuses. The program involves improving methods of preventing and reporting sexual harassment, providing the tools and training for students and staff on campus to give better support to victims and tackle any harassment issues productively. The report aims to provide an evidence based overview of sexual harassment on campuses in London, as well as offer recommendations for creating safer student spaces. The Hollaback! ULU research has been designed to highlight specific issues involving sexual harassment of liberation groups and the importance of having an intersectional overview of situations. Equal and safe access to campus spaces, the ability to Hollaback! and be supported is a right to which every student - whatever their gender, sexuality, race or disability should be entitled to.
Susuana Antubam ULU Womenâ€™s Officer
Acknowledgements This report was designed and written by the University of London Union Women’s Officer. We would also like to thank all the students who completed the questionnaire and the following people for assisting in spreading the questionnaire and advising throughout the process: Liam McNulty, Campaigns Co-coordinator at ULU Kat Higgs, ULU Marketing & Website Coordinator Hanna Sosnowska, ULU Marketing & Website Assistant Andrew Turton, ULU LGBT+ Officer Maham Hashmi, ULU Black Students’ Officer Thomas Ankin, ULU Disabled Students’ Officer Ginger Drage StudentFems London Kenny Aruwa, SURHUL Vice President of Education & Welfare 2012-2013 Proof readers: April Howard Megan Down Rose Walker Matthew Chadkirk, SURHUL Disabled Students’ Officer Michael Chessum, ULU President Oscar Webb, London Student Editor
Hollaback! ULU Executive Summary KEY FINDINGS The Hollaback! ULU research was carried out between 3rd June 2013 and 20th June 2013. During this time ULU conducted an online survey of 416 students in the University of London experiences of sexual harassment. Only current students were asked to fill in the survey, and questions only referred to students’ experiences over the course of the last year whilst studying at their current institution. This report summarises the findings from this research. CAMPUS SAFETY • 53% of respondents reported to have either personally experienced or witnessed sexual harassment. • 34% of students said that they had been personally harassed.
• 40% of students said that they had witnessed another student being harassed. When asked about the locations in which students had personally experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, 57% of students said they had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in campus venues, 54% of students said they had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment online (i.e.: Facebook pages such as “spotted”, “fit finder”) and 36% of students said they had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the surrounding areas of campus. • In regards to sharing or reporting sexual harassment, 54% of students said that they had confidentially spoken with a friend, 39% of students said that they hadn’t shared with anyone. • Only 17% of students said that they reported sexual harassment.
REPORTING SYSTEMS EFFICIENCY • The majority of students who were aware of the availability of a harassment reporting system at their institution did not have confidence in using the system currently in place. • Most of students also said that they did not think that their institution had a clear system for reporting sexual harassment and that they did not know who to report to if they were sexually harassed near, as opposed to on campus. GENDER MATTERS • Women were twice more likely to be personally sexually harassed than men. • Men were more likely to be witnesses of sexual harassment. • Women felt less safe on campus than men. • Women were more likely to personally experience or witness experiences of sexual harassment in pathways between campus buildings and surrounding areas than men. • Men were more likely to personally experience or witness sexual harassment in halls and toilets than women. • When it comes to sharing experiences, women were more likely to confide in friends, online, or of by word of mouth than men. • Men were less likely to share their experiences with anyone; however, they were more likely to report their experiences to authorities than women. LGBT STUDENTS • LGBT students were more likely to personally experience and witness sexual harassment than the average student. • LGBT women were more likely to experience sexual harassment than LGBT men. • LGBT students were more likely to share their experiences of sexual harassment. • LGBT men are less likely to tell anyone about sexual harassment but when they did they were more likely to report incidents to authorities than LGBT women. Trans and non-binary students • Trans* and non-binary students were almost twice as likely to experience sexual harassment than the average student and more likely to witness another student being harassed.
• Trans* and non-binary students are more likely to share their experiences of sexual harassment, particularly online, but less likely to report their experiences of harassment than the average student. *We’d like to indicate that this was a small sized sample and may not be completely representative of the majority of Trans* and non-binary students on ULU campuses. We will be working towards gaining more information from Trans* and non-binary students.
BLACK* STUDENTS • Black students were more likely to personally experience sexual harassment than the average student. • Black* Women were almost 4 times more likely to experience sexual harassment than Black* men. • There was not much difference between how safe Black* students felt at night however research did show that female Black* students were 30% less likely to fell safe on campus compared to Black* men. *Black - One or both parents originating from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America or Indigenous peoples
DISABLED STUDENTS* • Disabled students were more likely to personally experience and witness sexual harassment than the average student. • Disabled students were more likely to experience sexual harassment in campus venues and were around twice as likely to experience sexual harassment in pathways between buildings, halls and surrounding areas of campuses.
• Disabled students were twice as likely to experience sexual harassment in public toilets on campus than the average student.
*We’d like to indicate that students were not asked to reveal what type of disability they had for the survey. However, we will be working towards gaining more information from disabled students in future research.
Research Findings CAMPUS SAFETY Students were asked in which ways they have encountered sexual harassment on campus during the last year: • 34% of students said the they had been personally harassed • 40% of students said that they had witnessed another student being harassed • 47% of student said that they had not experienced or witnessed sexual harassment When students were asked where on campus had they experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, they responded as follows:
When students were asked how safe they felt on their campus club nights:
“I think there needs to be a more visible security presence in the late evenings for those living on campus as during the library 24 hour time I didn’t feel safe walking back to my halls. Also there were often non students loitering around the back part of Maynard and Beaumont which is frightening if you’re a girl as there is poor lighting in these areas.” Queen Mary, University of London student
I was groped in a bar; it didn’t come to my mind to complain to the bouncers or members of staff. In retrospect I should have, but I don’t know how they would have reacted to the situation. I wish there was more education out there on casual sexual harassment in social situations like bars, and how to deal with it. A code of conduct for order enforcers, and public attending the venue, to hopefully deter such lewd behaviour, and support the victims of the harassment/assault. University College London student
REPORTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT Students were asked how effective they thought the reporting system for sexual harassment was on their campus. Overall responses indicated that most students did not have confidence in the reporting system for sexual harassment on their campus. When students were asked in what ways they had shared personal or witnessed sexual harassment stories: • 54% of students said that they confidentially shared with a friend • 27% of students said that they publicly shared by word of mouth • 13% of students said that they publicly shared online • 12% of students said that they reported it to a person of authority • 2% of students said that they reported it to authorities via online tools anonymously • 3% of students said that they reported it to authorities via online tools privately • 39% of students said that they didn’t share with anyone • Only 17% of students said that they reported sexual harassment
Institutions that have policy and methods in place for reporting harassment sometimes fail to make this information accessible to all students which in turn results in fewer students being able to report. When we asked students if they thought that their institution has a clear system for reporting sexual harassment:
“The process for reporting sexual harassment is very unclear; I didn’t even know there was a procedure for reporting harassment and therefore have not reported anything despite it being a common occurrence for me and almost everyone I know. Sexual harassment is endemic in the area surrounding the university and on campus. I have not seen any improvement over time in tackling sexual harassment.” Queen Mary, University of London student
“King’s is very vague about what to do/whom to report to/how to report in cases of harassment. I would like an increase in guidance and awareness.” King’s College, University of London student
When we asked students if they felt that their institution took sexual harassment very seriously:
When we asked students if they felt that they would be believed and supported if they went to report sexual harassment on campus:
When we asked students if the system currently in place at their university made them confident in reporting sexual harassment:
“The Harassment Policy at my college seems ok at first glance, but no one follows it or even seems to know about it. We also don’t have a Safer Spaces policy. I’ve reported (non-sexual) bullying and did not feel I was taken seriously, so I would not feel confident about reporting sexual harassment.” Queen Mary, University of London student
Due to the fact that students often commute to and from their institutions, it is important to examine the areas surrounding campuses. When we asked students if they knew how to report to if they were sexually harassed near but not on campus:
â€œI am not aware of who I would report sexual harassment to if I was harassed (near to) but off, campus. It would be great to see posters/flyers around campus letting everyone know who they can report harassment to. Posters stating a zero tolerance to sexual harassment would also be good to see.â€? Goldsmiths College, University of London
Recommendations DEFINING SEXUAL HARASSMENT It’s important that students and staff members are aware of what sexual harassment is and the importance of consent in sexual interaction which is key to outlining the differences between flirting and harassment. “I don’t think it’s clear at all what we are meant to do if we are sexually harassed, or even what constitutes sexual harassment/what is enough to warrant reporting or that will be taken seriously” King’s College, University of London student
“Often, they don’t know its harassment. If you ask them, they’ll say that it’s annoying, but just people messing around. If you make a big deal about it, people get more abusive towards you.” King’s College, University of London student
Sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment ranges from leers, whistles, honks, kissing noises, and non-sexually explicit evaluative comments; to more insulting and threatening behaviour like vulgar gestures, sexually charged comments, flashing, and stalking, to illegal actions like public masturbation, sexual touching and assault. Clearer information on what sexual harassment is for students and staff members can prevent harassment and also enable more students to come forward to report their experiences. ZERO TOLERANCE All Student Unions should advocate a zero tolerance stance on sexual harassment, which means cracking down on all levels of sexual harassment and removing victim blaming from the reporting process. It is important that students feel that they will be treated with respect and given support if they are planning to report sexual harassment. This means taking reports seriously, not blaming the victim for their appearance, calling out inappropriate behaviour and making sure perpetrators of sexual harassment do not get away with their actions.
Staff members should be trained to handle incidents of sexual harassment in a way that gives students who report sexual harassment confidence in reporting. “LAD” CULTURE Lad culture plagues many intuitions across the country and the image of university campus life. As well as implementing unhealthy peer pressure, this normalisation of sexism and ‘banter’ has a negative impact on the educational and campus social lives of many women students. “I think one of the main issues is ‘banter’ and the idea of sexual harassment being “ironic”. Sexual jokes, repeatedly asking for a phone number, groups of men in seminars just casually talking and joking about rape/sexual violence. Also there is a “lad” culture within places such as the students’ union offices as well as the sports teams and the bar.” Goldsmiths College, University of London student
There are many university club nights which ignite this sort of behaviour by encouraging excessive drinking and using sexist advertising. Students Unions should review the kind of nights they hold and how they are advertised to ensure they are not promoting unsafe spaces for students. Every student on a night out deserves to enjoy themselves without an intimidating atmosphere. SEXUAL HARASSMENT ONLINE In this day and age, websites such as facebook are also used as means of sexual harassment. This sometimes involves things such as: • Sharing true or false details of sexual activity of another person without consent (and including their name and/or description). • Sharing and spreading sexually explicit images of another person without consent. • Constantly emailing another person sexual content after they have said stop. Whilst, things such as facebook profiles may be considered by some as private areas of free speech such behaviour and the existence of pages such as “ (x) university Rate my Shag” could lead to all kinds of verbal bullying, shaming and harassment. Online incidents between students can affect their lives on campus, especially when it involves shaming or threats of violence. So what can you do?
Contact your university Contact a member or staff or student officer who deals with external communications and get them to contact facebook. You can Report the page/profile • ‘Not being a real person’, • ‘Pretending to be someone else’ • ‘Harassing a group or person’ You can also encourage students who witness or experience sexual harassment online from other students, to screen capture these incidents for evidence. LIBERATION GROUPS The Hollaback! ULU report has shown that students who belong to Liberation groups (Women, LGBT, Black * & Disabled) are more at risk of sexual harassment “Generally sexual harassment at venues is heavily disregarded by peers; most women wouldn’t bother reporting it, myself included, at some point because of the lengths taken and the fear of my safety.” Royal Holloway, University of London student “I feel that it is very clear what to do if a female gets sexually harassed but as a gay man I do not believe it is very clear what to do or if it is tolerated if I am harassed” Goldsmiths College, University of London student
“Disabled people are more likely to experience harassment due to vulnerability and low self-esteem. Therefore, members of staff need to be able to aware of tell-tale signs such as the behaviour of the people around the individual.” Thomas Ankin, ULU Disabled Students’ Officer
• It is important to recognise that gender-based street harassment can intersect with racism, homophobia and transphobia, classism, and/or ableism. • When taking in reports of sexual harassments intuitions should also note and address other discrimination which may have intersected with an incident. • No campus is identical so unions should speak to directly, or survey, liberation groups on campus to find out what specific issues they may have and make plans to tackle them.
IMPROVING YOUR REPORTING SYSTEM A good reporting system should have confident and well trained staff to deal with situations and should be advertised on campus and online. • Unions should make sure that security and campus staff are trained to deal with issues concerning sexual harassment efficiently. • There should be clear disciplinary structures in place for perpetrators of sexual harassment. • The Survivor of sexual harassment should be informed about the progression of their report and should be offered alternative support services such as counselling. “Sexual harassment is commonplace on my campus, and while I can imagine that all members of staff would take a complaint seriously there are not visible systems for reporting incidents.” Birkbeck College, University of London student
REPORTING TO POLICE In the event that a student ends up reporting an incident to the police, Students’ Unions should inform the students of their rights and also ensure that they receive emotional support or counselling if it is needed. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT & COUNSELLING • Institutions should have the details of a range of internal and local support services for students who have been sexually harassed. • Make links to local Women’s Centres, LGBT and Male Survivor groups. INSTITUTIONS VS. STUDENTS’ UNIONS On some campuses the Students’ Unions reporting systems differ to their universities. • Students unions should work together with their institutions to review their systems to make sure that they are communicated well to both students and staff members. • There’s no point in having systems in place if they are not properly communicated and accessible to all students and staff. “I know the SU has systems in place and I would go to them, but in terms of the uni as an institution I wouldn’t know.” King’s College, University of London student
• Get your union and Institution to sign the Hollaback! ULU Charter
Hollaback! ULU Charter Sexual Harassment definition: Unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature including but limited to activity such as: leers, whistles, honks, kissing noises, and non-sexually explicit evaluative comments, vulgar gestures, sexually charged comments, flashing, and stalking, public masturbation, sexual touching and assault. Zero Tolerance
We have a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment of anyone in any student spaces, including on campus, the surrounding areas of campus and online.
No student, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race or ability should have deal with sexual harassment in silence. Our reporting and disciplinary systems aim to be as clear, efficient and accessible as possible.
NO to victim blaming YES to Supportive services
We believe in supporting students who have been sexually harassed and providing training for members of staff to deal with situations involving sexual harassment efficiently.
Signed …………………………………………. (University) Signed …………………………………………. (Students’ Union)
Appendix A: Survey Design QUESTIONS The following is a list of headline questions we asked in each section. In which of the following ways have you experienced harassment on your campus within the last year? Harassment includes having been stared at or gestured towards in an offensive way, verbally harassed, followed, stalked or groped. Please select all that apply: 1. I have been personally harassed 2. I have witnessed another student being harassed 3. I have not experienced or witnessed sexual harassment Where have you personally experienced or witnessed sexual harassment? Please select all that apply: 1. Campus Venues 2. Pathways between buildings on campus 3. Inside educational buildings 4. Halls 5. Surrounding area of campus 6. Public Toilets on Campus. 7. Online (i.e: facebook pages such as “spotted”, “fit finder”) 8. I have not experienced or witnessed any sexual harassment How safe do you feel on campus club nights? 1. Extremely safe 2. Very safe 3. Moderately safe 4. Slightly safe 5. Not at all safe 6. I don’t go to campus club nights If you have personally experienced harassment or witnessed someone else getting harassed, in what ways have you shared this story? Please select all that apply: 1. Confidentially shared with a friend 2. Publicly shared by word of mouth
3. Publicly shared online 4. Reported to a person of authority 5. Reported to authorities via online tools anonymously 6. Reported to authorities via online tools privately 7. Didnâ€™t share with anyone How effective do you think reporting system for sexual harassment is on your campus? This question was completed via a rating system which students had a choice the options: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, I donâ€™t know & N/A 1. The system currently in place for reporting incidents at my university makes me confident in reporting sexual harassment. 2. My Institution takes sexual harassment very seriously. 3. My Institution has a clear system for reporting sexual harassment. 4. I feel confident that I would be believed and supported if I went to report sexual harassment on campus. 5. I know who to report to if I am sexually harassed near but not on campus. At the end of the questionnaire we provided participants with an open text box and asked them those it to provide us with any comments or concerns that they were not able to express in answering the survey. A small number of respondents used the opportunity to tell us about campus specific problems and details of personal experiences.
Appendix B: Participant Profile Respondents were ‘screened’ into the survey by an initial question which asked whether the student was studying at a University of London institution and asked to identify which one; only those who answered positively were asked to continue with the survey. Gender • 75% of respondents were women • 23% of respondents were men • 1.5% of respondents were Gender Queer • 1% of respondents were Gender Fluid • 0.5% of respondents did not define into a gender • 1% of respondents preferred not to say We asked students if their gender congruent with the sex they were assigned at birth: • 95.5% of respondents said Yes • 3% of respondents said No • 1.5% of respondents said preferred not to say We asked students what liberation groups did they defined into: • 64% of respondents defined into Women • 31% of respondents defined into LGBT • 14% of respondents defined into Black* • 11% of respondents defined into Disabled • 23% of respondents said that they did not define into any liberation group. We asked students which University of London Institution they were studying at: Birkbeck College (2.16%) Central School of Speech and Drama (0.24%) Courtauld Institute of Art (10.58%) Goldsmiths College (6.49%) Heythrop College (0.24%) Institute of Education (0.24%) King’s College London (14.18%) London School of Economics (2.16%) London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (0.24%) Queen Mary, University of London 13.70% Royal Academy of Music (0.24%) Royal Holloway, University of London (16.35%) Royal Veterinary College (4.09%) St George’s, University of London (0.24%) School of Oriental and African Studies (3.61%) University College London (25.24%)