Leicester universities urging students to call out harassment in new campaign
Universities in Leicester are giving students the confidence to tackle harassment towards women as part of a new campaign.
As Freshers Week begins at both De Montfort University (DMU) and University of Leicester, both institutions will be actively promoting the You’re Right, That’s Wrong campaign, which has been produced by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, together with Leicestershire Police
The campaign aims to reduce violence towards women by empowering people to call out abuse and harassment they hear or see among their friendship groups.
These behaviours include catcalling, not leaving women alone when they’ve said no and making disrespectful jokes about women.
To support the work, both universities have taken part in a series of videos, which will be shown across social media from this week.
In the films, students are asked to consider what kinds of behaviour they see as ‘crossing the line’ and talk to each other about how they might deal with raising the issue among friends, and times they have felt conflicted in similar scenarios.
Along with the videos, the universities have agreed to actively raise the issues the campaign confronts within clubs, sports and societies, backed by engagement with the student unions on each campus.
Laurence Perkins, Head of Security at the University of Leicester, said: “This is shaping up to be an incredibly important campaign, as it takes a different approach to other safety campaigns.
“It puts the onus on students themselves to call out bad behaviour amongst their peers in a subtle, non-confrontational way.
“The messages are very clear and easy to understand and empower students to think about attitudes and how they can make a real difference to people’s behaviour.”
Nyasha Nguwo, Academic Executive Officer at De Montfort Students’ Union, said the campaign was timely.
He said: “The campaign has recognised the need to openly call out problematic behaviour towards women. It is spreading the message that women shouldn’t need to change their behaviours in order to avoid being abused or harassed, and I think it’s a positive shift in the right direction. Highlighting the need to take social responsibility for others and encouraging men to think about the negative impact of their actions.
“Taking action towards calling out certain behaviours, especially in friendship groups, and social settings is never easy but the campaign shows people it can be simple to correct the wrong type of behaviour. I believe this campaign can assist with reducing harassment for all women and girls in Leicester.”
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews said: “You're Right, That's Wrong" has been a phenomenal success and I’m delighted its hard-hitting message continues to be shared among young people in Leicestershire.
“The campaign is based on a very simple principle: if you’re prepared to take a stance against inappropriate conduct towards women, the chances are your friends will be encouraged to do the same.
“We have reached millions of people through social media since the campaign launched. I’m grateful to the universities for building on this important work and instigating the conversations that can prompt real and meaningful change. Tackling violence against women and girls remains a key priority and I will continue to work with partners to make our streets and public spaces safer.”