UoM Introduces Sexual Violence and Harassment Response Manager

The University of Manchester has added a new position to its Divison of Campus Life, which plays a central role in supporting students through counselling, disability support, occupational health, discipline and misconduct and student support.

The position, named Sexual Violence and Harassment Response Manager, will work to implement initiatives to prevent sexual assault and harassment on campus, as well as reporting systems and support and guidance for victims.

Given the prevalence of rape culture and sexual assault and harassment at UK universities [42 percent of students and graduates have experienced sexual violence while in education, compared to 12.1 percent of the general population], the introduction of a role specifically designed to deal with issues of this type unfortunately feels incredibly necessary.

Second year student, Natalie says, "It's good that we have this new position available and I hope it highlights how prevalent the problem of sexual harassment/assault is, although it's a shame that this kind of position is a requirement to deal with this behaviour. I'm not really sure how it will deal with the root of the problem but I'm glad the university is at least trying to make a difference."

[Quote has been edited for length and clarity]

Following the recent scandal at Warwick University, where the university secretly reduced the punishments for a number of boys who'd been involved in a group chat that exchanged disturbingly graphic comments about raping fellow students, and a study which revealed that just 2 percent of victims felt both comfortable to report their assault to their university and satisfied with the reporting process, it's a pleasant change to see an institution working to deal with the problems it faces concerning sexual violence.

While the introduction of a Sexual Violence and Harassment Response Manager won't completely erase university rape culture [that lies mostly in the attitudes of students and society as whole towards what constitutes consent], it's certainly a step in the right direction towards institutions dealing with issues of sexual violence more sensitively and effectively.