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Student networks leading the struggle for universities free of sexual violence: mechanisms to support survivors, inspiring institutional changes for violence prevention

GoTriple's project summary

The problem of sexual violence in universities and institutions is getting international attention. In this watershed moment, European Student Networks of Support (SNS) are progressively acting to prevent and face this problem. This project aims (1) to study in which ways do social movements struggle to eradicate sexual violence to contribute to the creation of networks of support in higher education; inquiring on social actors engaged, resistances faced and overall, how are contexts of zero tolerance in which victims feel empowered to speak up shaped. Power structures and complicities are often limiting student movements from effective organizing in preventing harassment. Drawing from this, the project pretends (2) to uncover effective strategies and mechanisms of SNS and the movement against sexual violence in universities, focusing on how it successfully performs and got to be so widely recognized. The emergence of these social movements count on the support of active bystanders, including scholars who develop research and action for and with the public, committed with improving the existing civil society worldwide. In this line, (3) the role of public sociology in promoting SNS is also explored. Their empowerment is influencing not only academic policies against sexual violence but also political changes, legislations. Thus, impact is expected on three realms: on personal and professional success of direct and second order victims of sexual harassment in academia; on effective university policies; as well as on regulations beyond academic institutions. The gap to be filled (in Europe) focuses on the emerging and articulation of Student Networks of Support illustrating the knowledge of their development and repercussion while successfully influencing administrations, political spheres and legislations, making the EU leader not only in social science research but also in contributing to foster pioneer regulations against gender-based violence.

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