20% of young women experience unacceptable behaviour

One in five girls and women aged between 16 and 27 experience unacceptable behaviour, unsolicited sexual advances that clearly go too far.  Among boys and men the figure is one in ten.   Sensoa, the competence centre for sexual health, wants to help students deal with such incidents and is eager to show them how to respond.

It was Ghent University’s student council that asked Sensoa to get involved.  Sensoa has now drawn up a set of tips.  Boris Cruyssaert: “We see that the 16 to 27 age category really is a vulnerable group.  It’s linked to the fact that young people are busy experimenting and sometimes limits are crossed.”

Everybody should be aware that there are limits to what you can do.  Fellow students, who witness unacceptable behaviour, should be aware of how to react. Advice includes “cause a distraction, if you witness unacceptable behaviour”.  If you know the victim, call her or him on their mobile.  If you’re not well acquainted, why not ask the way to the loo.

These are subtle ways of intervening and putting yourself between victim and the perpetrator. Sensoa has also developed a workshop that for the minute will only be organised in Ghent, though the organisation is certain other university towns could also benefit from this initiative.