News

Breaking the Silence campaign launches

The University and Colleges of Cambridge and CUSU have launched a zero tolerance campaign around sexual misconduct.

The campaign, called ‘Breaking the Silence – Cambridge speaks out against sexual misconduct’, highlights a range of new prevention, support and reporting measures coming into effect in 2017.

It launched last week (24 October) with a new website and film showing CUSU’s Women’s Officer Lola Olufemi and senior leaders including Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope advocating zero tolerance of all forms of harassment.

The website gives contact points for help, advice and support as well as setting out expectations around mutual respect and consideration and the zero tolerance approach to sexual misconduct. Staff and students are also given information about the University, College and external reporting options via the website.

The campaign has been developed by CUSU, the University and Colleges, and will be supported on social media using the hashtag #breakingthesilence.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope said: “Cambridge prides itself on being a leader academically, in terms of research and educationally. It has to be a social leader as well, tackling tough problems such as sexual harassment. If we don’t tackle sexual misconduct, we risk losing some of our most talented members: people who won’t feel safe, who won’t feel valued in our community. This is a responsibility for each and every one of us – every university leader, staff member or student. Together we can make Cambridge a safe, inclusive environment.”

Dr Philip Johnston, Senior Tutor at Hughes Hall commented: “This is an excellent campaign. The official launch event showed that it will be proactive as well as reactive, addressing culture as well as conduct.”

Hughes Hall Nurse Maria Gloag commented: “I am so pleased that the University and College are fully committed to supporting individuals affected by any kind of sexual harassment or misconduct, and welcome the opportunity to destigmatise conversation around this issue. I would urge anyone who has experienced or witnessed any kind of harassment or abuse to come forward and report it, knowing they will be listened to, believed and supported.”

Hughes Hall has already adopted an Anti-Harassment policy which is fully in line with the university’s one, and wholeheartedly supports this initiative.

Visit the new website at www.breakingthesilence.cam.ac.uk.