Statement against sexual violence at the UvA

The Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) team and Faculty Diversity Officers are deeply appalled by the structural power abuse and power dynamics within the UvA which protect perpetrators rather than victims-survivors. We see these events not as isolated cases, but as part of a larger pattern of structural violence, power abuse and gaslighting of victims-survivors after they have voiced their complaints. This structural form of sexual(ised) violence disproportionately affects women and marginalized groups, such as black people, people of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as students and staff whose grades and careers are dependent mainly on one supervisor or lecturer. 

We acknowledge that our institution has failed its students and staff. We would like to express our support to victims-survivors of sexual violence at the UvA. We believe them and wish them the strength to heal from their traumas. We will continue to push for structurally adequate measures to be put in place to protect prospective students, measures which will  encourage and enable others who have similar experiences to step forward.

More importantly, all victims-survivors deserve a safe and low-threshold reporting system that is independent. Our students should not have to share their traumas in a national newspaper in order to be heard. This shows that our system is broken and that we need systemic change.

The CDO team and FDOs will continue to push for and recommend that the Teaching and Learning Center include workshops for students, staff and student and study organizations. These include workshops about inclusive leadership, implicit bias, and about sexual-violence prevention. We will also advocate online courses for lecturers about inclusive classrooms, including more information on the “Keep on Teaching” site on Canvas, and define guidelines for supervisors. 

We look forward to the recommendations from the external social safety committee set up to investigate the system for reporting and complaints relating to social safety at the UvA. We also look forward to the recommendations from the social safety taskforce and the ombudsperson on improving social safety within our university.

For those who would like to seek support during these difficult times, please refer to the CDO help-seeking resources page, as well as the following information:

  • An overview of help seeking within the UvA, including the social-safety support guide for UvA employees
  • Non-UvA contacts: Non-therapeutic support group for victims-survivors of sexual violence, sponsored by the CDO team, CARE:
    • Created by The Safe Space,  Anesteia Tsagkalidou and Stichting Our Bodies Our Voice, CARE is a non-therapeutic support group for survivors-victims of sexual violence. Click here for more information or email: saferamsterdam@gmail.com
  • For free support by healthcare professionals trained in supporting victims-survivors of sexual violence, contact the Sexual Assault Center (24/7Hotline: 0800 – 0188)
  • For more information on harassment and sexual violence, please refer to the:

Sincerely,

Dr. Anne de Graaf, Chief Diversity Officer, University of Amsterdam
Chief Diversity Officer Team
Faculty Diversity Officers

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