Campaign against sexual harassment launched on campus
It’s not on…
A triumphant campaign encouraging victims of sexual harassment to stand up was launched today.
The campaign encourages both students and staff to say it’s “not on” to sexual harassment after a rise in reported cases at Universities across the country.
Under the initiative, everyone will be encouraged to challenge sexual harassment and report inappropriate behaviour.
The campaign aims to create an environment where sexual harassment of any kind is wholly inappropriate and unacceptable, and where victims have the confidence to speak out.
The campaign is being launched with a video featuring Great Britain’s Paralympic gold medalist Pam Relph MBE – a University of Birmingham alumna – and a number of current students and senior members of University staff.
The University already provides a Harassment Advice Service offering support to those who have experienced incidents of bullying or harassment.
The Guild of Students’ Advice and Representation Centre provides free and impartial advice, information and representation to students.
Second year English student Louie Cullen was at the launch today.
He said: “It’s a good counter to the University party culture, which tends to overshadow the issues as a ‘bit of fun’.
“This party culture can sometimes trivialise the incident, and so I think this campaign from the Guild is a great reminder that sexual assault is to be taken seriously, regardless of the context.”
Ali, another second year English student, said: “It’s really good to see the University making a positive impact and taking decisive action.
“I hope more people get involved. It could definitely make people feel more safe.”
In a joint statement, The University of Birmingham and the Guild of Students said: “Sexual harassment constitutes behaviour that is unwanted and sexual in nature.
“Conduct that would amount to sexual harassment may include unwanted groping, uninvited kisses and/or bodily contact.
“However, sexual harassment is not only physical behaviour but includes anything that is sexual in nature and leaves another person feeling uncomfortable, intimidated, humiliated or offended – such as wolf whistling, catcalling, inappropriate sexual comments, sexually based insults, jokes, songs or taunts.
“The University and the Guild of Students regard any incident of harassment or bullying as a serious matter and we are committed to investigating thoroughly any allegations of harassment that are formally brought to our attention.”
They added: “You should never be subjected to harassment, whether this occurs in a bar, on campus, on public transport or online, and be it by people you know or complete strangers.
“The Guild of Students operates a strict zero tolerance policy in regards to harassment, fully supported by the University.
“The University Charter and Single Equality Scheme represent a commitment to preventing discrimination and supporting the provision of an inclusive learning and working environment.”
If you wish to support the ‘Not On’ campaign you can sign the pledge.