#UvATimesUp: Students don’t know where to turn to

#UvATimesUp: Students don’t know where to turn to

Trigger warning: This article includes the mention of sexual violence!

Since November 2021, the Our Bodies Our Voice (OBOV) UvA Student Board has conducted a survey regarding the university’s help-seeking resources. The results are troublesome. 

The Our Bodies Our Voice Foundation is an external nonprofit organisation that has a student board at our university. OBOV’s student board raises awareness of sexual violence within the university context. With help of the survey, they aim to determine the dominance of sexual violence at UvA, what resources are most helpful, and how they can advise students to find resources more readily. All the questions of the questionnaire were optional to answer due to their content which means that the number of responses differs. 

The results were presented in three Instagram posts, as the first depicts the sexual experience of students. Out of 505 students, 370 them disclosed to have experienced sexual violence in their life. During their studies at the UvA, 135 students have encountered sexual violence. It appears that mainly other students are predators except in two cases, staff members were reported. 

The second Instagram post introduces how much students know of help-seeking resources accessible at our university. Only the minority of the students (19 out of 135) that endured sexual violence during their studies knew about the availability of help-seeking resources at UvA. However, apart from awareness, the trust in the university’s resources seems to be lacking as well. For instance, one reason indicated that UvA might ‘make the situation look better’ and disregard the importance of consequences––such as punishment or addressing the predator. 

The third post shares stories anonymously that ‘deserve to be heard’. The stories vary, but most of them conclude with the insecurity of where or whom to turn to in such situations. Additionally, if students contact someone the outcome ranges because either it is not helpful or in some cases, the university’s staff ‘goes out of their way to help’. Statistics and numbers have power in showing how widespread the problem is and raising awareness. But numbers do not give justice to the abuse that has occurred, according to OBOV. 

The OBOV UvA Student Board organises projects focused on social safety and the prevention of sexual violence at the UvA.


Have you experienced sexual violence? Here are some resources

The Centrum Seksueel Geweld (CSG)

  Instagram: @centrumseksueelgeweld

  Helpline: 0800-0188

  Website: www. Centrumseksueelgeweld.nl

The ombudsfunctionaris

  Email: ombudsfunctionaris@uva.nl

  Telephone: 06 11860520