Students of Cairo University and Freie Universität Berlin Launched Campaigns against Sexual Harassment
Berlin Action Weekend "Verstehste?" on January 16 and 17
№ 006/2015 from Jan 16, 2015
To protest against sexual assault in nightlife, students at Freie Universität Berlin started a campaign “Geddit? Sexual harassment is no compliment.” For January 16 and 17 they organized an action weekend, when they are planning to visit areas in Berlin where there are many clubs and to speak to the revelers. "Especially at night and under the influence of alcohol there is a lot of confusion about what is an appropriate compliment and what a transgression," they say. The project originated as a cross-cultural teaching experiment: the course was held with students at the University of Cairo in virtual joint meetings. In addition, the students of both universities met in December 2014 for a joint "winter school." In Cairo, the participants also started a campaign against sexual harassment - with the university campus as a priority.
In a teaching project at the Division of International Communication in the Department of Education and Psychology taught by communication studies scholar Professor Carola Richter, students used these campaigns to test the possibilities of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in academic life and society. The project is also intended to acquaint the students with cultural differences in gender relations and media usage.
The Egyptian students at the University of Cairo called their campaign "Speak up" and placed the emphasis on sexual assault on campus. The Facebook page they launched now has more than 4,000 "Likes," and the students have already been interviewed by Egyptian TV channels. By drawing attention to sexual harassment in nightlife, the Berlin students chose an area that has drawn little attention so far. While there is sensitivity to sexual harassment in the workplace, it is almost an accepted norm in nightlife, according to the organizers.
- Valerie Marouche, Co-initiator of the campaign "Geddit?" and student of communication Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Prof. Dr. Carola Richter, Freie Universität Berlin, Institute for Media and Communication Studies, Tel.: +49 30 838-58898, Email: email@example.com