Students in Ireland's University College Cork (UCC) will today unveil the It Stops Now campaign mural as part of the college's inaugural Bystander Intervention Week.
The mural installation marks just one of a number of events the Ending Sexual Harassment and Violence in Third-Level Education (ESHTE) project is involved in as part of this initiative.
Excited for the inaugural #BystanderInterventionWeek starting today with great events lined up. Today UCC Bystander Intervention Conference, @ItStopsNow_EU Mural, Tomorrow @ItStopsNow_EU @NWCI Staff Training and screening of The Hunting Ground with @UCCFemSoc and much more @UCC pic.twitter.com/vHDJDRRnZp— UCC Bystander Intervention (@BystanderUcc) January 28, 2019
Tara Brown, ESHTE Project Coordinator, will address a special Bystander Intervention conference, attended by the Minister for Higher Education in Ireland, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, taking place this morning. Staff from UCC will also take part in Sexual Violence and Harassment Disclosure training, developed and delivered by the ESHTE team, tomorrow.
Tara said, “It Stops Now is proud to be part of UCC Bystander Intervention Week, which is a crucial opportunity to empower students and staff to recognise and tackle sexual violence and harassment in a meaningful way. The It Stops Now mural will be installed by students, and is an engaging installation which dispels popular myths and engrained attitudes towards sexual violence and harassment. It calls on people to believe survivors, become active bystanders, and always check consent.”
“The It Stops Now campaign aims to tackle the harmful behaviours which prevent students from being able to safely and equally participate in college life by driving change through awareness, training and support structures. The events taking place this week play an important role in this, reminding us all of our shared responsibilities in creating a culture of zero tolerance to sexual violence and harassment, both on and off campus.”
Tara continued, “One in three women in Europe will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Sexual assault doesn’t exist in a vacuum: catcalling, sexist jokes and ‘slut shaming’ lay the foundations of a sexual violence culture. The It Stops Now campaign and mural calls on each of us to play an active role in challenging toxic behaviours, ending victim-blaming attitudes, and believing survivors. It is fantastic to see the engagement of students here in UCC on this campaign. Empowering students to lead change is essential, because the values they take from their college experience will shape a better, more equal society for everyone.”
Dr Louise Crowley, who leads the Bystander Intervention Programme in UCC said, "The future for proactive student engagement and education is this field is promising, inspired by the vision of the Minister in demanding change and bringing together experts in the field to develop key strategies and expectations across the sector. There is in my mind a very real collective endeavour for cross institutional change – a recognition of the capacity for positive and affirmative change. In tackling this destructive social behaviour through positive education and student empowerment and university management support, we can and will effect a vital cultural change."