The pictures featured in this post are part of a student led project to raise awareness about, and protest against, sexual abuse around Queen Mary’s campus. Be warned that the banners are of a sensitive nature and some readers might find them uncomfortable and challenging to confront – one banner in particular displays the testimony of an assault survivor student. The campaign was borne out of the realisation that more support for sexual assault survivors can be done around campus. Often victims of sexual abuse are afraid or feel too shamed to file a report of their abuse, or the actual process of filing a report can be complicated and off putting. A study found that only 6% of students in the UK report assaults to their universities on average, whereas the rate of rape for women is nearly double in universities than in a society as a whole (8% to 4% as found by Revolt Sexual Assault). It is an epidemic that is grossly brushed under the carpet quite often to preserve a particular public image on behalf of a university. For this reason, a group of students, including Adil Mian and Ronnie Schwaller, wanted to create and hang banners around campus to promote awareness of this abuse culture and of consent in general.
Here is a statement on behalf of Ella Harvey – Vice President of Welfare at Queen Mary – about the banners:
“Really happy to retrieve the banners along with the students who wrote them and help put them up. It’s important students have their voices heard as that is the purpose of a students’ union, however they wish to do it! If anyone is effected by the issues raised and wants to discuss next steps for campaigning, I am more than happy to have a chat about how we can do that!”
- Before you view the below photographs, it is further worth noting that Queen Mary now has a reporting platform for students to ANONYMOUSLY report sexual harassment, rape, assault, stalking and cyber harassment to the university. Please see the screenshot of Ella’s tweet: