UPDATE: SEXUAL HARASSMENT & THE UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM

One of our PISSWIFE members is in San Fransisco on a 5 month exchange at the moment. While Tessel is studying at San Francisco State University, she is contributing to the university’s exchange council blog, and she continues to write for PISSWIFE from overseas.

A short while back I wrote an article criticizing the lack of education on sexual harassment and healthy boundaries at the University of Amsterdam and other universities in The Netherlands. This post is a little update on where things are now, and what organizations and people are working on a solution (to my knowledge).

Our Bodies, Our Voice
Like I mentioned in the previous article, the project ‘Our Bodies, Our Voice’ is working on ways to prevent sexual harassment at the universities. “Our Bodies Our Voice is a special collaboration project of student initiatives and official organizations that will deliver various workshops to improve the sense of community and solidarity within the UvA. We aim to improve the access to information for help-seeking with respect to sexual violence, gender, and inequality. We encourage the community to recognize and promote help-seeking strategies, because often in student contexts, help-seeking can be one of the most difficult tasks to overcome. Our objectives will then hopefully change the culture surrounding these issues – through our workshops for both students and staff members – in terms of increasing general awareness, willingness to intervene, and ability to provide support.”

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I have been receiving emails and documents as to what their plans are and summaries of meetings they organized. When I return to Amsterdam I’ll join their meetings and keep you guys updated! You can also follow their Facebook account to receive update posts and pictures of the meetings during the process. ‘Our Bodies, Our Voice’ is planning on organizing workshops that are particularly designed for the institution in question. “We do this because the evidence shows that gender interventions are most effective when they are relevant to the group and context.” (Quoted from the draft material) The plan is also to make a workshop series rather than a single moment of education, as a series of workshops tends to have better results. Right now the idea is to make 3 workshops that build up on each other.

ASVA Research
ASVA student union is currently conducting research into sexual transgressive behavior amongst students at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) and the University of Amsterdam (Uva). With this research we want to gain insights in what students describe as sexually transgressive behavior, how often such incidents occur and (globally) in which setting and areas they occur. We would also like to hear your opinion on how to prevent sexual transgressive behavior and how the HvA or UvA could deal with complaints more effectively. The questionnaire can be found here.

During this research we would like to conduct in-depth interviews with people who have experienced a form of transgressive behavior. This interview can be conducted either in person or by telephone, with preference being given to a personal interview. This interview can be taken at a location of your choice. It will be a conversation between yourself the lead researcher, Loraine Smith. This interview is completely anonymous and voluntary. If you are interested, you can send an email to: loraine.smith@asva.nl.

Text: Tessel ten Zweege
Image: Our Bodies Our Voice

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