Sexual violence happens here, but here can be where we come together to end it.
This is the opening line of the home page of the ‘It Happens Here’ blog of Oxford University, the UK pioneers of organising this campaign. It is them who designed it, it is them who executed it and it is us who, with their very kind permission, are recreating it here, in Durham.
It Happens Here Durham started to raise awareness about issues surrounding sexual violence, consent and rape culture and working with members of Durham University and the wider community to ensure that Durham is a safe place for all people. Anyone can be a survivor or a perpetrator of sexual violence. People of all genders, sexual orientations, races, cultures, religions. Undergraduates, postgraduates, university staff. Anyone.
Since IHH started in 2013, the University have made a lot of progress, through the creation of the Sexual Violence Task Force, one of the first of its kind in the UK. The task force has worked alongside It Happens Here, Durham Feminist Society, the Students’ Union and other student groups and the police to create a University Sexual Violence Policy.
This policy outlines the processes for disclosure of incidents of sexual violence, compulsory training for new members of staff and those involved in pastoral support and the need for colleges to provide talks during Fresher’s Week about sexual violence and consent.
As a campaign group, we are delighted with the progress the university has made with it’s approach to sexual violence and that it is pioneering with its approach to these matters. As such our role has become working with Durham University and holding them to account on their promises, campaigning on matters surrounding sexual violence and consent and facilitating workshops for student groups and staff.
We believe that it’s time for all of us to join together and say that sexual violence will not be tolerated in our community. That we will support survivors. That we will educate ourselves about consent. That we will create a culture free from damaging myths. That we will make here a place where change happens.
We thank the Oxford team for their work and permission to use it. Please visit the Oxford page at http://ithappenshereoxford.wordpress.com/