In EM TV, editor Tim Ficheroux explained why EM investigates sexual transgression. Source: youtu.be
Illustratie seksueel grensoverschrijdend gedrag enquete 2022 – Esther Dijkstra

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Erasmus Magazine is conducting research on sexual harassment among students. We need your…

Why is EM investigating sexual misconduct among students?

Because it is very common. 11 percent of female students in the Netherlands experience rape during their studies, according to research commissioned by Amnesty International. Students are also in the age group in which sexual misconduct frequently occurs. This varies from sexual assault to inappropriate comments or street harassment.

What is not so well known is the extent to which various forms of sexual misconduct occurs in student life. What happens in student houses, in student associations, within the walls of the university or in homes on campus? And how does it feel to meet each other later in a lecture?

Hasn’t this been recorded for some time?

Yes, via reports to confidential counsellors and official complaints to the Inappropriate Conduct committee. But there is very limited insight into what actually happens. Very few official complaints are submitted. Over the course of five years (between 2016 and 2020), the committee only handled ten complaints relating to inappropriate behaviour at the university, and these concerned all forms of inappropriate behaviour at the university.

Even the confidential counsellors have little insight into the experiences of students with inappropriate behaviour. The number of reports of (sexual) misconduct may have risen in recent years, but the confidential counsellors feel that this is only the tip of the iceberg. In their annual reports of 2019 and 2020, they therefore appealed for a university-wide study into misconduct among EUR students. So far, there has been no response to that suggestion.

How is the EM investigation structured?

Over the past two months, we have spoken to dozens of students. We studied reports, research and procedures, and we interviewed experts. To widen our study beyond the incidents, we developed a survey, with the help of researchers from the Erasmus Love Lab, the Diversity & Inclusion Office and a confidential counsellor. You can now complete that survey.

Why should I take part if I have never experienced misconduct?

That is just as important. Sexual misconduct is not just about experiences, but also about behaviour. It’s also about attitudes, norms and values that are or are not shared, context or the environment. For that reason, we also want to know what students consider to be misconduct, what they expect from the university and how they behave. Perhaps you’ve never thought about it. Or perhaps you’ve wondered if you’ve crossed someone’s boundaries. In that case too, it’s important that you take part.

Is it safe to complete the survey?

Yes, your answers are anonymous and cannot be traced back to an individual. The EM website is not hosted by the university. You may choose to leave contact details, so that we can reach you with any further questions. If you prefer not to do that, but you want to tell your story, you can also contact us directly. You can send an e-mail to Feba on sukmana@em.eur.nl and Tim on ficheroux@em.eur.nl. Or visit our office at HB-108.

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that university mailboxes are 100 percent secure. We have therefore set up a special e-mail address for everyone who wants to report something anonymously: erasmusmagazine@protonmail.com.

It may be that you get negative thoughts or feelings when completing the survey or reading our articles about misconduct. In that case, it might be a good idea to talk to someone, for example a confidential counsellor. The Centrum voor Seksueel Geweld [Centre for Sexual Assault] is a good place to find professional help if you have ever experienced sexual misconduct.

How will the results of the research be used?

We expect to be able to share the results at the end of April. We will do this in a series of journalistic productions, for example news and background articles and videos.