Liverpool Guild of Students has launched its Call It Out campaign to draw attention to and tackle all forms of harassment and abuse on University campuses.
Sexual harassment and assault can include unwanted groping, pinching or smacking of your body, uninvited kisses or bodily contact – but it isn’t just physical. Wolf-whistling and catcalling, inappropriate sexual comments, sexually-based insults, jokes, songs or taunts are also included – it’s any type of this behaviour which makes someone feel uncomfortable.
Moreover, it’s not just women who can experience this – and harassment isn’t only sexual or gendered. Work by Universities UK has found evidence of a serious culture of harassment on UK campuses.
Call It Out
The Guild campaign includes:
- Active Bystander training: Rolled out to hundreds of society committee members and other student leaders, to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to identify harassment of all types – but especially sexual harassment – and Call It Out.
- Call It Out: Branding across the Guild and University with resources and information for you to access.
- Conversations on campus: Guild representatives are going to be appearing across campus to have conversations with students about their day-to-day experience of campus culture.
- Events: There will be a series of events for you to engage with to explore how we can work together to end the culture of harassment on campus. More information will be available on the Guild website in the coming weeks.
How can I get involved?
- If you haven’t received Active Bystander training but would like to, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest for a session.
- Equip yourself with basic knowledge about how to deal with harassment when you see it.
- Keep your eye on the Guild website to see the activity and events running over the next few months.
- The University wants students who have been the victim of harassment online to confidentially and anonymously share their experiences so we can better understand the problem. If you would like to take part please contact Dr Fiona O’Rourke on email@example.com. All students who participate in an interview will receive a £10 gift voucher to cover their time.
Where can I get support?
The University provides support for students who have experienced sexual assault, harassment or hate crime. There are also external organisations, in Merseyside and beyond, that can provide additional specialist support and information.
The Guild’s Advice Service also offers free and confidential advice to all University of Liverpool students. The service is independent from the University and local authorities, and offers non-judgmental advice. It aims to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the options available.
The advice service can support you through reporting of an incident – either to the University through Student Welfare and Guidance or to the local authorities. You can also contact a number of external organisations if you’d feel more comfortable doing so including Safe Place, the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre and Rape Crisis for sexual misconduct, and Victim Care for all forms of harassment.
The four Ds – Top tips for Calling It Out
If you witness a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable; such as physical misconduct, inappropriate jokes, leering, staring or any inappropriate or offensive behaviour, you can intervene in different ways – either at the time of the event or afterwards.
Intervention is not limited to stopping the incident but also creating safer more welcoming cultures. If you chose to act after the event it does not make your actions any less impactful. Any intervention creates a positive impact and encourages and empowers others to become active bystanders.
Direct: Intervene directly to stop a situation; this could be confronting a perpetrator or checking if the person being harassed is ok. You should only intervene once you have assessed the situation to ensure your personal safety.
Distract: If you don’t feel comfortable in intervening directly, you can diffuse the situation through indirect action, for example distracting the perpetrator so the person being harassed can leave.
Delegate: Don’t feel like you need to act alone, there are lot of people on campus trained to support and prevent harassment on campus. You can delegate to Campus Security, Guild Staff – whether it is bar staff, a society coordinator or advisor. You can delegate at the time or after the event.
Delayed: If it is not possible to intervene at the time, or if intervention would compromise your safety, you can still act after the event, it does not make your actions any less impactful. You can check if the individual involved is ok, question the perpetrator’s behaviour or report the incident.