White Ribbon Day: Loughborough University makes pledge to #ChangeTheStory for women and girls
For White Ribbon Day (25 November) this year, we are highlighting the University’s commitment to changing the story for women and girls.
Here at Loughborough, our students, staff, support services and leadership are dedicated to making consistent choices and actions to #Changethestory for women and girls so that they may live their lives free from the fear of violence.
Please take some time to read why White Ribbon Day is important to the University and how we are all working hard to #ChangeTheStory.
Duty, Assessment & Inclusivity Team (DAI)
The DAI team work closely with those affected by sexual violence. We see the harmful effects that it has on our Loughborough University students and community.
White Ribbon Day is important to our team as we want to end fear of violence towards women and girls.
We want to #ChangeTheStory. We know there is a culture of misogynistic attitudes which are harmful and perpetuate inequality and violence so we want to make Loughborough University a safe space for all of our community. We wear our white ribbons to keep the conversation going so that everyone is involved in the commitment to changing this story.
Charlie Wheeldon, Kate Wigham, and Karen Watts
Acting Director of Student Services, Practice Lead – Mental Health Support Team, and Acting Head of Student Services
As a service, we will not accept violence against women and girls and do our utmost to ensure that this is on the agenda. We will not excuse it, and we will not be silent about it.
What can be viewed as harmless comments and attitudes can have an upsetting impact on individuals and lead to an acceptance of unacceptable behaviours. This is not okay. Having respect in all places, for all women is paramount. Anything that suggests a lack of respect should be called out.
Trevor Page, Rachel Wan and Atlas Alberich
CEO of Loughborough Students’ Union, Equity Diversity and Inclusion Executive Officer, and Consent & Sexual Health Officer
Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) is committed to providing a safe environment for all its staff and members. We operate a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment or violence, treat all incidents seriously and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment. All complaints of violence will be taken seriously by us and treated with respect and in confidence.
It is important for us to be active bystanders. It is a bystander’s duty to call out negative and unwanted behaviour to be part of the change. This includes being vocal about the importance of not blaming those who are subjected to such violence. We want to foster a supportive culture and encourage everyone to speak out about harmful attitudes and behaviour towards women and girls.
Ant Dales and Hayleigh Vasey
We want everyone at Loughborough to both be safe and feel safe. Whether they are a student or a member of staff, we want people to enjoy the time they spend here and have the confidence that should something happen that makes them feel otherwise, we are here 24/7 to deal with their concerns and provide support, reassurance and a resolution.
We are working to ensure the campus Security team is as diverse as can be. If our own department is a healthy environment where attitudes can be challenged, then this sets the standard to which we also hold others accountable.
We work hard to ensure that students and staff feel that they can report incidents, that they will be supported, taken seriously and that investigations are timely and effective.
Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Services
I had a 20-year career in helping professions (social work and psychotherapy) as a practitioner working with families, couples and individuals and leading teams. I’ve listened to the traumatic stories of countless survivors of violence by men, the majority of whom have been female.
Paradoxically, in my experience, it was rarely the perpetrators of violence against those women who came forward for help. You would think that the problem of male violence against women is for women to solve.
White Ribbon Day is important to me because I know that many men in our University community care deeply about this issue too and welcome an opportunity to stand in solidarity and allyship against violence towards women and girls.
EDI Services is developing policies, guidelines, and strategies to prevent and address harassment, coercion, bullying and violence in collaboration with other partners within the University and wider community.
We are committed to helping raise awareness about harassment, coercion, bullying and violence, providing education and proposing training and campaigns. We will also support the University’s activity in this area by monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to prevent violence and support survivors.
Professor Charlotte Croffie
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Violence against women and girls is never acceptable in any context.
White Ribbon Day provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on what some girls and women all over the world may be experiencing, in particular the violence perpetrated by men and boys.
It is important to acknowledge that not every girl or woman experiences violence and/or harassment, just like not every boy or man is a perpetrator of violence and/or harassment. However, by working together we can raise awareness to break the cycle where it does exist.
As an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion and an ally in the space, I’m happy to use my voice to support White Ribbon Day to raise awareness and be a champion for change.
Being an active bystander or calling violence and harassment out can help us reframe the narrative and shift people away from seemingly harmless attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence for women and girls that lead to unintended consequences.
A kind word, listening to someone or simply going for a coffee or a cup of tea may make a difference. Who knows which approach will have the most profound impact as Sally Koch says, “Great opportunities to help others seldom come but small ones surround us every day”.
With this in mind, I encourage others to also consider getting involved so that collectively we can work towards a time when White Ribbon Day is no longer necessary.
Professor Nick Jennings
Vice-Chancellor and President of Loughborough University
I want to be clear with all our male students – the responsibility for ending violence against women is ours as men. Too often we see the emphasis or blame passed onto women as if it were their responsibility to protect themselves and hide themselves away. It’s our responsibility to STOP this behaviour and step up to do our part in #ChangingTheStory.
Further support and how to report an incident
If you have witnessed or experienced any harmful behaviours and would like support and/or to report this, please contact the Duty, Assessment & Inclusivity Team (DAI) at DAI@lboro.ac.uk or complete the Incident Reporting Tool.
Alternatively, you can seek support and/or report to Campus Security, who are available 24/7 on campus and off campus.
If you are ever in danger or need immediate support, please call 999 in an emergency.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Reflections, comments, discussion and opinion on EDI topics from Loughborough University staff and students