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Gender-Based Violence Against Female Students in European University Settings

  • Katrin List (a1)

Abstract

Due to their age and lifestyle, female students in general are at an increased risk of various forms of sexual violence. Particular sociocultural contexts also form the background of gender-based violence in professional and academic structures. Yet despite institutional and legal efforts to protect (potential) survivors of sexual violence from primary (and secondary) victimization, persistent assaults demonstrate the reluctance of organizations and individuals to fully accept women’s experiences as being physically and psychologically harmful. Based on quantitative and qualitative data obtained in the context of the European research project “Gender-Based Violence, Stalking and Fear of Crime”, 1 this article presents a comparative analysis of the prevalence of sexual violence, feelings of safety (or a lack thereof) and the reasons for (non-)disclosure for five European countries. A dataset of about 21,000 responses from German, British, Italian, Spanish and Polish students indicates that sexualized violence is a major problem at universities and that it has yet to be recognized as such. This – added to the fact that it is generally suppressed or concealed by universities – makes it society’s problem as well. The article discusses widespread social myths about victims and perpetrators, the role of the new media in victimization, and the issues of universities’ responsibility for their students (through institutional policy and specific responses to incidents of gender-based violence). The results presented here demonstrate the contradictory perceptions that students have in regard to their experiences and the nature of sexualized violence in an academic environment.

Debido a su edad y estilo de vida, las estudiantes en general corren un mayor riesgo de sufrir diversas formas de violencia sexual. Contextos socioculturales particulares también forman el trasfondo de la violencia de género en las estructuras profesionales y académicas. Sin embargo, a pesar de los esfuerzos institucionales y legales para proteger a los (posibles) sobrevivientes de la violencia sexual de la victimización primaria (y secundaria), los ataques persistentes demuestran la reticencia de las organizaciones y de las personas a aceptar plenamente las experiencias de las mujeres como dañinas física y psicológicamente. Basado en datos cuantitativos y cualitativos obtenidos en el contexto del proyecto europeo de investigación "Violencia de género, acecho y miedo al crimen", este artículo presenta un análisis comparativo de la prevalencia de violencia sexual, sentimientos de seguridad (o la falta de ella) y los motivos de (no) divulgación para cinco países europeos. Un conjunto de datos de aproximadamente 21,000 respuestas de estudiantes alemanes, británicos, italianos, españoles y polacos indica que la violencia sexual es un problema importante en las universidades y que aún no se ha reconocido como tal. Esto, sumado al hecho de que generalmente es suprimido u ocultado por las universidades, también lo convierte en un problema de la sociedad. El artículo discute los mitos sociales generalizados sobre las víctimas y los perpetradores, el papel de los medios de comunicación en la victimización y los problemas de la responsabilidad de las universidades por sus estudiantes (a través de la política institucional y las respuestas específicas a los incidentes de violencia de género). Los resultados presentados aquí demuestran las percepciones contradictorias que tienen los estudiantes con respecto a sus experiencias y la naturaleza de la violencia sexualizada en un entorno académico.

En raison de leur âge et de leur mode de vie, les étudiantes en général courent un risque accru de devenir des victimes de diverses formes de violence sexuelle. Des contextes socioculturels particuliers constituent également le contexte de la violence sexiste dans les structures professionnelles et universitaires. Pourtant, malgré les efforts institutionnels et juridiques pour protéger les survivants (potentielles) de la violence sexuelle contre la victimisation primaire (et secondaire), les agressions persistantes démontrent la réticence des organisations et des individus à accepter pleinement les expériences des femmes comme étant physiquement et psychologiquement nuisibles. Basé sur des données quantitatives et qualitatives obtenues dans le cadre du projet de recherche européen «Violence basée sur le genre, harcèlement et peur du crime», cet article présente une analyse comparative de la prévalence de la violence sexuelle, des sentiments de sécurité (ou d’un manque de sécurité) et les raisons de la (non) divulgation, dans cinq pays européens. Un ensemble de données d'environ 21 000 réponses d'étudiants allemands, britanniques, italiens, espagnols et polonais indique que la violence sexuelle est un problème majeur dans les universités et qu'elle n'a pas encore été reconnue comme telle. Ceci - ajouté au fait qu'il est généralement supprimé ou caché par les universités – est en fait aussi un problème de société en général. L'article aborde les mythes sociaux répandus sur les victimes et les auteurs, le rôle des médias dans la victimisation et la responsabilité des universités envers leurs étudiants (par la politique institutionnelle et les réponses spécifiques aux incidents de violence sexiste). Les résultats présentés ici démontrent la perception contradictoire que les élèves ont de leurs expériences et de la nature de la violence sexualisée dans un milieu universitaire.

由於年齡和生活方式的原因,女生普遍面臨各種形式性暴力的風險。特定的社會文化背景也構成專業和學術結構中性別暴力的背景。然而,儘管有機構和法律的努力來保護(潛在的)性暴力倖存者免受小學(和中學)的傷害,但持續的攻擊表明,組織和個人不願意充分接受婦女的身心受到傷害的經歷。根據歐洲研究項目“基於性別的暴力,跟踪和恐懼犯罪”的研究獲得的數量和質量數據,本文對性暴力流行情況,安全感(或缺乏)進行了比較分析,以及五個歐洲國家(非)披露的原因。來自德國,英國,意大利,西班牙和波蘭的學生的約21,000份反饋數據表明,性暴力是大學面臨的一個主要問題,並且尚未得到認可。這加上了大學普遍被壓製或隱瞞的事實,也使得它也成為社會的問題。文章討論了關於受害者和肇事者的廣泛的社會神話,新聞的角色

媒體受害情況以及大學對學生的責任問題(通過機構政策和對性別暴力事件的具體回應)。這裡展示的結果表明學生在學術環境中對自己的經歷和性暴力的性質的矛盾的看法。

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding Author: Dr Katrin List, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany. E-mail: katrin.list@rub.de

Footnotes

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1

The EU-funded project ran in 2009–2012 and the author of the article was its scientific coordinator.

Footnotes

References

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Gender-Based Violence Against Female Students in European University Settings

  • Katrin List (a1)

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