The advocacy and communications committee are launching a campaign to fight the pervasive problem of sexual violence against graduate students in STEM academia. Learn more about the campaign below or on the new GQM website, and be sure to co-sign or volunteer for the campaign!
Sexual violence is a huge and enduring problem in academia, and graduate students – particularly graduate women – are especially susceptible to abuse. Experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault among graduate women are common to the point of expectation. The stress and fear which result from the constant threat of mental, emotional, and physical violence turn a place of learning into a hostile environment for many women. Also, since at least 1 in 4 women have been sexual assaulted at some time in their lives prior to graduate school, pursuing an education or career in an often largely male-dominated field presents an additional set of challenges for these survivors, which are rarely addressed. The reporting system for these experiences lets women down again and again, discouraging reporting, taking months or even years to investigate and take action on a case, and centering the interests of the university brand rather than those of the victim.
The #SafeAtWork campaign is a call to arms that encourages graduate women to center the basic right which we deserve and which Title IX protects: our right to be safe at work. We call out sexual violence as an issue which is deeply entrenched in university culture, and which will demand commitment from everyone in the community to combat. We aim to #disrupt this culture and prevent further violence by achieving the following goals:
Empower women to break the silence around the culture of sexual violence
Unite survivors of sexual violence across schools to create community and ease the isolation that so many survivors experience
Inform and educate the academic community about what constitutes sexual violence and how it is perpetuated in the academic culture
Petition members of the academic administration and faculty to hold their colleagues to higher standards of graduate student education, training, and treatment
Encourage our educators to hold themselves and their peers responsible for disrupting this culture of sexual violence and silence
Encourage the academic community to take action to prevent and correct the injustices that graduate women face everyday in our work environments.
Empower our peers to stand up for themselves and each other
Empower our allies to interrupt harmful behaviors, and to use their influence to move the community towards more healthy and respectful cultural norms
Empower the members of our community to define ourselves by our own thoughts and values, rather than the ever-present threats and pressures of an academic culture that diminishes us.
We deserve healthy, supportive, and most of all SAFE environments in which to pursue our educational and professional goals. Our work will never be done until graduate women are recognized as valued and respected members of our community.