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Campaign addressing the issue of sexual harassment and abuse in Birmingham

It is not a secret that sexual harassment and abuse are hugely prevalent in this country, especially on university campuses. Studies have shown that 62% of students have experienced sexual violence at university. This rises to 70% of female students and 73% of disabled students – these statistics have more than doubled in the last 4 years. In response to these rising numbers, a group of Birmingham students have started a group called Reclaim Campus UoB.

The group started directly as a response to the horrific murder of Sarah Everard when the group of students decided that enough was enough.

What are the group working on?

Working hand-in-hand with the University of Birmingham

From the very get-go, the group decided to take their cause directly to the university. They spoke with the University of Birmingham staff on the 29th March this year and instantly initiated positive change. The university agreed on the following changes to make their campus safer:

The Vale Entrances

Enhanced Lighting

CCTV across campus

DBS checks

Repairing safety equipment

Other points for further discussion

The group has also bought up some points which the university has agreed to discuss further. They have said they will work on further training for their security team and enhancing awareness across the university community in the form of consent training and active bystander training.

Providing support for students

As well as working with the university, Reclaim Campus has been providing support and resources for students who have experiences sexual assault or sexual harassment. They’ve provided links to support through the university, as well as working closely with bigger national campaigns like Reclaim The Campus and Our Streets Now.

Raising awareness

The group has also been raising awareness for sexual assault and harassment, sharing other peoples’ stories and helping people get their voices heard. They also have been working across the summer and will soon be announcing on their social media what they’ve been doing.

Running vigils

In addition to all of this hard work, Reclaim Campus hosted a vigil in Selly Oak to remember the life of Sabina Nessa, a primary school teacher who was killed as she walked through London. The vigil was held by candlelight, and the leader of the group, as well as other students attended to pay their respects to Sabina.

Birmingham Live spoke to students at the vigil, wherein many of them spoke about “rarely feel[ing] safe” and the rise in catcalling, drinks being spiked and sexual harassment. These are all thing that Reclaim Campus UoB want to work to fix.

How to get involved with the group

The group runs exclusively in Birmingham, so if you’re a student in the city and you want to get involved, check out their social media. They have an Instagram and a Twitter, where you can contact them with ideas or requests to get involved.

For students outside of Birmingham, there are other groups that run nationally, like the aforementioned Reclaim The Campus, Revolt Sexual Assault and Anti-Harrassment Club.

What you can do to help prevent sexual harassment

There are things you can do aside from joining great groups like Reclaim Campus, so if you don’t fancy joining a group near you, you can learn how to be an active bystander. This helps you know what to look out for when you’re out and about and how to help people who might be at risk of sexual assault.

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