NUS Wales launch Reclaim the Campus campaign

reclaimNUS WALES have launched a new video campaign tackling violence against women, entitled ‘Reclaim the Campus’.

The campaign is funded by the Welsh Government’s ‘Right To Be Safe’ strategy, and it consists of four graphic and shocking videos which are on the topics of consent, domestic abuse, stalking, and victim blaming in cases of sexual assault. The campaign aims to build on the values of the pre-existing NUS Women’s Campaign; that abuse is never the victim’s fault, and that to end violence against women the attitudes trivialising such crimes need to be tackled.

The videos were all produced by students, for students.

The Hidden Marks report produced by the NUS Women’s Campaign in 2010 found that harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault are all prevalent in students’ lives, and that the overwhelming majority of perpetrators were fellow students. Rape Crisis also reports that over 90% of sexual assault victims already know their attackers. This, coupled with the victim blaming which Reclaim the Campus hopes to tackle, is perhaps why reporting levels among students who have experience these issues are very low.

Further to this, the Hidden Marks report also reveals the shocking statistic that 1 in 7 female students have experienced a serious physical or sexual assault during their time as a student. Other NUS Wales research reports that 30% of male Welsh students believe a woman is partially to blame for being raped if she is drunk or wearing revealing clothing.

Rhiannon Hedge, the Women’s Officer for NUS Wales, has spoken out against the misogynistic culture prevalent on many university campuses. In a statement on the Reclaim the Campus campaign, she said that; “Educational institutions have a responsibility to create a culture that is safe for their women students– not by telling women what to wear or drink or how to behave to protect themselves from violence and abuse, but by promoting a culture that pro-actively challenges the attitudes that accept and normalise violence.”

The videos can be seen on the NUS Wales Women Youtube account – warning: these videos deal closely with themes of consent, domestic abuse, stalking, and sexual assault.