Students at Durham University have launched a campaign calling on the college to take a more durable stance on sexual harassment in Durham metropolis.
The group Our Durham Streets Now is campaigning for harassment-free training and proposes working with the establishment to make the campus a secure area.
First yr students Matilda Hubble and Honor Douglas launched the Durham campaign after listening to how buddies had skilled degrading and sexual feedback within the metropolis and on campus.
The pair have teamed up with the nationwide grassroots group Our Streets Now, a campaign to make road harassment a prison offence within the UK.
A survey by the group discovered 84% of students at 17 universities within the UK mentioned they’d skilled sexual harassment.
Matilda mentioned she typically feels scared to be alone within the metropolis and on campus as a result of risk of harassment.
She defined: “I’ve by no means felt 100% secure on my very own, particularly in someplace I do not know or at the hours of darkness, and the survey’s figures actually make that concept concrete to me.
“It makes me scared, however it’s not one thing that is going to cease me from making an attempt to battle against it.
“It’s important that everybody is aware of that they are secure sufficient and their freedom is not being encroached upon.”
The survey of 100 students was launched as a part of the Our Streets Now report “They Saw My Fear and Laughed: Tackling Public Sexual Harassment In Education”.
It discovered that 49% of students have been harassed travelling to or round college, 24% have been harassed on campus whereas 72% have been uncertain tips on how to report or search assist for incidents at their establishment.
Durham students can report harassment incidents on the web site Pincident in partnership with the students’ union, which maps out the incidents throughout town.
But Matilda warns that some students do not report them as a result of sexual harassment is not a prison offence in its personal proper.
She added: “We’re making an attempt to encourage folks to report incidents and to hunt assist.
“The help from the college is there, however the issue is sort of a number of folks do not find out about it.
“It’s not made clear sufficient to folks, particularly first yr students, who have not had an opportunity to expertise it in particular person.”
Now, the Durham group can be calling on the college to forestall, defend and help students.
Matilda mentioned: “Sexual harassment typically takes the again seat and is not seen as vital, so we’re saying we must always have coaching for employees and students to coach folks about it.”
The campaign additionally proposes working with native authorities and transport suppliers to cut back harassment and to nominate full-time sexual assault and harassment advisors at universities.
Graham Towl, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University, mentioned: “The security and wellbeing of our students is our first precedence, each on campus and within the metropolis, and we totally condemn sexual violence, misconduct and harassment.
“We would actually welcome seeing additional particulars of this survey so we will, along with Durham Students’ Union and companions in Durham City, absolutely take into account the considerations recognized.”