An account of one hundred women shared with the Guardian has illustrated the large scale of sexual harassment and gender violence in UK Universities.
The women have given accounts of serial harassment, sexual assault, verbal bullying and rape taking place in UK Universities. A number of women have compared the scale of the abuse to that within the Catholic Church.
A lot of women stated that they felt unable to complain as they were frightened of jeopardising their academic careers. Rachel Krys who is the co-director of “ End Violence Against Women “ ( EVAW) called for, “ a change within Universities to prevent both senior male academics and Professors from abusing positons of power and develop better processes to bring them into account.”
The majority of the cases which were reported to the Guardian involved senior male academics harassing and abusing young female students whose work they supervised. The fear is that Universities are failing in their duty of care to students and staff who are harassed. An account has been given where a female academic who made a complaint against a senior male colleague, against whom there had been previous complaints, was marched of the campus and suspended for three months for making a false allegation.
UK Universities are legally obliged under human rights and equality laws to protect female students from sexual assault and other forms of violence against women. EVAW have considered that many Universities are in breach of these obligations.
The incidents which have been reported have occurred in Universities across the UK and include prestigious and high ranking universities. Some incidents date back to the 1980’s and 1990’s, but many are recent and ongoing.
Krys has said, “We know this is happening to young women at Universities across the county and they continue to be failed by the Universities in which they put their trust. Our universities need to listen more to the women who are coming forward and telling these stories. They need to investigate properly when there is an allegation of abuse and act quickly to protect all women from these perpetrators.”
Jordans are currently representing a large number of clients who allege abuse. If you would like assistance in pursuing a claim we would urge you to contact us.