UCLouvain published this Thursday the striking results of a survey carried out in 2022 on sexual harassment and assault. The university wanted to have a clear and precise vision of the experiences of its students, to better identify those at risk and then improve prevention measures.
In response to this alarming study, Ecolo MPs Rodrigue Demeuse and Margaux De Re call on the Minister of Higher Education to immediately intensify efforts to fight this scourge.
The study reveals that one in five female students has been the victim of rape in the party scene at UCLouvain. Sexual harassment affects 14% of all students. These figures are unacceptable! They demand immediate and effective action from Minister MR Françoise Bertieaux.
In 2021, at the initiative of Ecolo, the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation adopted a plan to combat this violence, including specific recommendations. However, the minister maintains a passive attitude and is slow to implement this plan, especially given the scale of the problem.
For months, Madame Bertieaux has been hiding behind carrying out a study on the scale of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, before taking action. However, we learned this morning that the presentation of this study, initially scheduled for February 7, has been postponed to an indefinite date. We can no longer wait, it is urgent and necessary to offer a political response.
The solutions are already known and voted on:
- Facilitate the submission of reports: it is imperative to put in place an internal system within establishments to report cases of violence, as well as an external system for all higher education, in the event of a loss of confidence in the mechanisms internal.
- Information, training and awareness: higher education establishments, staff and students must be better informed, trained and made aware of these issues. Prevention is the key to changing the culture and perception around these serious issues
- Specific legal framework: an adapted and reinforced legal framework is necessary to offer increased protection to students. This includes clear sanctions and follow-up procedures for reported cases.
“We emphasize the urgency of these actions. The safety and dignity of students cannot be compromised. It is our collective duty to create a safe and respectful environment for everyone,” conclude Margaux De Re and Rodrigue Demeuse.