The Stand Together project (2014-15) was an action-research project challenging the continuum of gender-based violence in university communities (from everyday sexism, lad cultures, sexual harassment, homophobia, sexual violence to domestic abuse) which primarily effects women and people of minoritised sexualities
Research documents the high prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) in UK universities. This cross-college project entailed peer education programmes involving student volunteers, a poster campaign and a theatre project which brought together young women and men to challenge prevailing cultures which condone violence and violence-tolerant norms. The research sought to provide a better understanding of student experiences of, and perceptions about, GBV in university communities and the role of prevention education in shifting attitudes and intervention behaviour on this issue.
In a market-driven context where universities are increasingly competing for student numbers, fear of negative publicity may deter universities from acknowledging the existence of GBV in and around their campus. In this context, and given recent policy initiatives by Universities UK, research like this can enhance our understanding of the problem and go towards fostering institutional cultures that facilitate change. Our project was completed in 2015, but we hope that staff and students at UoL will continue to stand together on this issue for years to come. The research team are currently writing up their findings for various publications, including a book chapter in Anitha, S. and Lewis, R. (eds.) Gender Based Violence in University Communities, Bristol: Policy Press (forthcoming).
Funding: Research Investment Fund, College of Social Sciences, University of Lincoln
1 School of Performance & Cultural Industries, University of Leeds