A survey has revealed over 140 cases of sexual harassment and four rapes on the University of Lausanne (UNIL) campus over the past five years.
This content was published on December 8, 2022 - 17:02 December 8, 2022 - 17:02 RTS/Keystone-SDA/sb
The survey carried out last spring by the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Social Sciences (FORS) revealed a total of 148 unwanted physical acts that could be punished under Swiss criminal law, including four cases of rape, and 42 incidents of sexual molestation. The university comprises around 17,100 students and 4,400 research, teaching and technical staff.
The report also mentioned complaints of“jokes” about sex or sexual orientation (38% of women surveyed and 27% of men), insistent or inappropriate looks (22% of women and 5% of men) and behaviour or criticism about physical appearance (20% of women and 8% of men).
Reports of harassment among UNIL employees were mostly carried out by people holding higher positions, while cases involving students were carried out by other students. However, viewed proportionally the problem was seen to be worse among teachers.
University officials and the Office for Equality said they were“deeply concerned” by the frequency and seriousness of the cases. The findings are 'comparable' to other similar institutions, but remain 'unacceptable and undignified', they wrote in the report.
UNIL says it is committed to taking concrete steps to support victims and to regularly monitor the problem. At the beginning of next year, it plans to present a“reformed system to fight harassment and discrimination' at the university and to recruit several specialists to help tackle the problem. In particular, it aims to strengthen prevention and allocate resources to allow victims to be able to speak out freely and to“re-establish trust in the institution that has been shaken”.
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