The Rape Crisis Organisation defines sexual harassment as “unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature”. This includes anything from non-verbal actions such as wolf-whistling to physical harassment, like groping.
In a report carried out by Revolt Sexual Assault and The Student Room, it was found that an overwhelming 62% of students experienced sexual violence during their time at university. However, only 2% of students who reported an incident to their university felt ‘satisfied’ with how the occurrence was handled.
In response to these high levels of harassment, many bars, clubs and UK universities have adopted policies to ensure that there is help for those who find themselves feeling vulnerable to sexual harassment.
Thanks to organisations such as the National Pubwatch website, campaigns such as ‘Ask For Angela’ have been backed by many bars and other student venues.
‘Ask For Angela’ aims to give discreet help to those who feel as though they’re in a vulnerable position, or, as the campaign states, if the situation they find themselves in starts to ‘feel a bit weird’. The scheme works by the customer who is seeking help, going to the bar or to a member of staff and asking for Angela. The member of staff will then take the customer out of the situation and make sure they gets home safely, whether by taxi or by being picked up by a friend or family member.
— Jess Monroe 🇬🇧 (@JessMonroeX) January 16, 2018
Leeds University Union has adopted the ‘Ask For Angela’ campaign and has other schemes in place such as ‘We’ve Got Your Back’. The intention of this campaign is to work with other organisations in Leeds to create a city with no sexual harassment. The LUU have claimed that, ideally, they will achieve this by making sure staff are ‘adequately trained in what to do if an incident arises’.
Although several schemes have been enforced, their effectiveness is questionable. With only 2% of students satisfied with how their university dealt with reports of sexual harassment, it calls into question the usefulness of these schemes, or whether they’re used at all. However, reform may be on the horizon; the University of Cambridge has reviewed the success of their current schemes, and has launched their ‘Breaking the Silence’ campaign to provide more effective support and guidance for students who have experienced sexual harassment.
Images: [Independent, Daily Mail]
If you feel you need support or to talk to someone about an experience with sexual harassment, please contact organisations that are available to you:
Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds
Text: 07797 803 211