By Ruth O’Leary outlastandoutlive.com
For a student coming to university can often mean a new city, a new sense of freedom and completely new social interactions. Often you start finding out who you are as a person and what you’re truly interested in. For most this is an exciting new prospect but for others this can be an isolating time, especially for those facing gender-based violence, abuse and harassment. A Telegraph survey shows a third of female students in Britain have endured a sexual assault at university and an NUS survey showed that 35% of seriously violent incidents against female students were carried out by someone they knew intimately.
End It Now is a student led campaign in response to these shocking statistics. Its goal is to eliminate all forms of abuse and harassment at university. This includes domestic violence, sexual violence and hate crimes. It aims to do so firstly by signposting students to available help, and then secondly to change social behaviours and dangerous myths that help perpetuate violence in our society. We are an all-inclusive campaign that thinks intersectionality is vital in our work so that we can address the different barriers that some individuals may face or look at specific needs, addressing the fact some students can be facing multiple forms of violence. This will ultimately lead to a safe and supported university experience for EVERY student.
We are hosting events about these crimes throughout the year. Recently we had a film screening and panel discussion on The Hunting Ground, a film showing rape culture on university campuses and the effects it has on the student. The conversation after was incredible – with strong ideas on how to end rape and sexual assault at universities from students themselves. We also hope to be holding an End It Now sports day, putting together a film clip on institutional and covert racism, working on fighting street harassment (including sexism, homophobia, transphobia and racism) and hopefully many more actions!
The Bristol Zero Tolerance initiative is important as, like End It Now, it looks to support all individuals that face gender-based violence in any form. It aims to address the problem within our society by saying that it is in fact everyone’s issue. Together we can all challenge and eventually stop abuse, harassment and violence across Bristol.