The #MeToo campaign has put the spotlight on sexual harassment, offense and abuse. From many countries and across sectors, we hear shaking stories.
It is also shocking that those who have known and those who have responsibility and authority, in most cases have done so little about it.
This also happens in higher education institutions. For example, in both education and research there are many situations where the power relations between employees and students are asymmetric and where it can be hard to stand up.
At VID, students and employees, women and men, shall be safe not to be sexually offended. If someone has experienced offensive or unwanted events, we want to know in order to be able to stop and prevent such behavior.
In VID's learning environment survey from spring 2017, the results show that 0.4 % of respondents have experienced or observed unwanted sexual attention from employees during the last 6 months, while 1 % of respondents have experienced or observed unwanted sexual attention from students. This corresponds to 13 and 33 students out of our approx. 3300 students – and that makes 13 and 33 too many.
Together with other higher education institutions, VID wants to go from #MeToo to #WeAct. We will put unwanted sexual awareness and harassment on the agenda for all those working and studying at VID, and we want to cooperate with the student democracy on how we can conduct preventive and attitudinal work.
As a first step, I want to make both students and employees aware that VID has guidelines for unwanted sexual attention and ethical guidelines for supervisors (under translation into English). Both guidelines provide guidance on how to deal with issues that concern unwanted sexual attention.
Published by Ingunn Moser. Date: 20. November 2017.