“A real gent asks for consent”, Mariëtte Hamer said on Thursday during an appearance on the Radio 1 programme Spraakmakers. The former politician currently serves as a special government commissioner tasked with combatting sexual misconduct and sexual violence.
Together with Sophie Haccau, a confidential counsellor at the Delft student association Virgiel, Hamer has launched a student pact. The agreements in this document are based on input from most student associations and organisations, and Amnesty International. The pact was published online on Thursday, after Hamer presented it to Minister of Education Robbert Dijkgraaf.
According to a survey carried out by Amnesty International, 1 in 10 female students are raped. The pact’s initiators say this figure is “completely unacceptable”. They propose workshops to teach students about respecting personal boundaries, and to impress on them the importance of always asking for consent.
With the pact, the associations and organisations now have their first national approach, including action points and tips. There are also instructions on what to do after an incident and plans to improve reporting procedures.
According to Jorgen Blom of the Dutch National Students’ Association, the pact is a step in the right direction, and one that will help address the issue of sexual misconduct within student organisations. He hopes it will “force signatories to take responsibility”. LSVb president Elisa Weehuizen is also optimistic: “Before, student organisations often didn’t really know what steps they could take. That’s why this pact is so essential.”
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