Gender-based violence; a major public health, equality and human rights issue. It covers a spectrum of violence and abuse, committed primarily but not exclusively against women by men. This includes, but is not limited to; domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, stalking and harassment, commercial sexual exploitation, harmful practices - such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage and so-called ‘honour’ based violence. (Health Scotland, 2019)
Earlier this year a survey of over 5,000 students in the UK reported that over half of these students had experienced unwanted sexual advances and assault. These statistics are astronomical, and totally, utterly unacceptable.
With statistics like these, it would be naïve of us to believe that this does not occur on our campus, regardless of our zero-tolerance policy on gender-based violence. Things like this are engraved in our culture and this is proven by the language used by the university to describe these incidents;
Interpersonal security issues ≠ sexual assault
Interpersonal security issues are not equal to sexual assault.
Sexual assault and gender-based violence are not pleasant things to talk about and no one wants to believe that this is something which is currently happening on our campus, in our uni, to our classmates and colleagues. This is not an issue with all men, however, this is an issue that all women should not need to constantly fear. The only way we can begin to change things is by making this a discussion which we can put onto the table.
In the upcoming weeks in the uni and Strath Union we will be holding numerous campaigns and events related to these topics, but start by letting us know about your experiences.
There is currently an active Equally Safe Survey which is available here where you can share your experiences on campus with a team of researchers, however in the upcoming weeks, we will also be holding a reportathon where you can report any and all current or historical instances. We will also be participating in the 16 days of action against gender-based violence, and our yearly 'Fight For The Night' takeover.
It is time to shatter the glass. It is time to speak out about gender-based violence. Please complete the survey here http://tiny.cc/EquallySafeStrathclyde