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FE Student Sexual Harassment Research – Have Your Say NOW!

By NUS

Monday 11 February 2019 Further Education

The Women’s Campaign has led ground-breaking work on lad culture and sexual harassment, in Higher Education, now we’re working hard to understand the situation in further education, so we can begin to tackle it.

Our new survey, looking into sexual harassment, violence, and unhealthy relationships experienced by students in Further Education is now live. This research is the first of its kind and we hope to uncover the key issues facing college and sixth form students across the UK, to help shape our policy and campaigns.

The survey closes on February 14th, so take part in it today and share your views with us on these important issues.

At the beginning of my term as Women’s Officer, I made sure this piece of research was one of the Women’s Campaign’s core priorities, because I saw the potential we had to begin this essential culture change work. Sexual harassment, violence and domestic abuse are issues that we know students in colleges and sixth forms experience. These issues present themselves at a formative time for many FE students - their formative years in college often account for some of their earliest encounters with sex, dating and romantic relationships. Despite this, sex and relationship education remains woefully inconsistent across the country, leaving students often unknowingly replicating negative and unhealthy behaviours.

Alongside relationship dynamics, there is the ever-present issue of students’ forming negative attitudes and behaviours along lines of gender. From our first focus group of FE students, young women and girls shared with us experiences of sexualised comments, unwanted touching, slut-shaming, cat-calling and feeling a of lack of safety on their journeys to and from college. To leave these attitudes and behaviours unchallenged, at such crucial moment for young people, leads to the normalisation of such behaviours that then become increasingly difficult to unlearn. We know this, as we see these behaviours repeated in higher education, then in the workplace and across society.

The Women’s Campaign understand that without the work; time, energy and investment into uncovering and challenging these attitudes whilst in education, we cannot achieve results. We strive towards a society free from gendered violence and abuse. We cannot achieve this in society without the active imagining of healthy gender relations, as early as possible.

If you have experienced these or similar issues, it’s vital we hear from you. Our survey closes on Thursday 14 February and takes just 10-15 minutes to complete.

If you’re a further education student, please take part and help shape this work and share as widely as possible with friends and colleagues who might like to have a voice in this research.

 

Sarah Lasoye  

NUS Women’s Officer