“Women should not have to live in fear when going about their daily lives.
“They should not have to worry about how dark it is outside and whether the clothes they wear will put them in danger.
“Like all members of society, women and girls have the right to feel safe to be on the streets and in their homes and to live without violence.”
These are the words of our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Katie Normington, and it is a sentiment felt fully by all of us here at De Montfort University.
The horrific murder of Sarah Everard as she walked home has placed a spotlight on the daily occurrences of harassment and violence experienced by girls and women.
Her murder has generated a nationwide debate around the safety of women. However, this debate is not a new one. It mirrors conversations that women and girls have on a regular basis.
It is not enough that we simply voice our support. As a university, it is our role in society to educate and, through positive action, ignite the changes we want to see in our world.
This is the action we are taking – and how you can get involved.
We know the number of women who have experienced abusive behaviour is higher than the number who have come forward to speak about it. Working with De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU), our No Space for Hate Project, provides practical support to students who are victims or witnesses to hate, harassment or bullying.
This includes a specialised service which outlines the support and reporting options, an anonymous reporting tool and a new policy. We encourage members of our university community to contact the project to report harassment and receive the appropriate support.
As part of our Athena SWAN work we will be holding staff consultations, so that you can voice your thoughts on where we can focus to create a more inclusive environment for women to study and work.
Our DMU Women network has already sent out a communication to say that they will be hosting an online workshop over the coming weeks to provide a space for reflection, and for sharing thoughts and ideas more locally. The network is also set to meet on Friday 26 March, from 11am to noon, which will provide space for network members to discuss this in a safe space. To join the meeting on 26March, and to also join the network, please e-mail email@example.com.
If you have been a victim, or you are in danger
Any student or member of staff that feels in immediate threat should contact the police on 999, while DMU security staff are available 24/7 on 0116 257 7642.
The Mandala Project provides practical support from trained responders for DMU students that have been victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, honour abuse or sexual harassment. Students and staff can also find support from external services that are listed here.
Our staff are able to seek support through the employee assistance programme. This is a 24 hour free and confidential service which offers a counselling and support helpline available to employees and their families. The number to call for support is 0800 716 017. The university can also refer an employee to the EAP if they feel unable to make the first contact themselves.
Staff and students are also able to access the Leicester based support services listed here.
Posted on Monday 22nd March 2021