The Unitat d’Igualtat of the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) has received 12 complaints in two years, since the center’s prevention and action protocol was launched during the 2019-2020 academic year. This figure was known last November, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in which it was detailed that there were five complaints of sexual harassment, three of sexual assault and four of conduct of contempt towards women. women.
In all cases, the people denounced were men: five students, four from the teaching and research staff and three who did not belong to the university community; eight complaints were individual, all women, and one was collective.
The prevention and action protocol in the field of sexist violence and against LGTBI that affects URV students was launched in the 2019-2020 academic year through its Unitat d’Igualtat. The objectives of this document are to prevent the appearance of physical, mental, sexual, sexist violence and violence against the LGTBI collective among members of the university community. It also intends to serve to act against these behaviors described, investigate them, monitor them, determine responsibilities and, if appropriate, propose the initiation of a disciplinary proceeding. Lastly, it accompanies the victims throughout the entire process, offering them preventive measures to protect them, as well as the necessary information to avoid their defenselessness.
The affected person must be a URV student and the perpetrator of the conduct must be a member of the university community. Violent conduct must occur within the organizational scope or provision of services of the university. In other words, within any area of the campus or university facilities and outside these whenever the events take place within the framework of an activity or service organized by the URV and it is considered that the physical or moral integrity of the victim is in danger. Or on social networks, when profiles, emails and virtual environments of the URV are used.
First, the complaint
The action procedure of this protocol is simple. When a person considers that there are indications of a conduct of that provided for in sections 2 and 4 of the protocol, they can file a complaint, in writing or verbally, before the Unitat d’Igualtat of the URV, which will communicate it to the presidency of the Intervention Commission in Cases of Violence against Students (CIVE), which will appoint a rapporteur.
This rapporteur receives the complainant and acts as a support and advice unit for the person allegedly harassed and informs them about the protocol. If there are indications of violent, discriminatory or harassing conduct, the commission will inform the rector so that he can initiate an information file and appoint an instructor.
If, finally, the rector receives a positive file for possible violent, discriminatory or harassing conduct, he will decide on the initiation of a disciplinary file and the application of preventive measures, if necessary.
In general, according to the latest report prepared by the Network of Gender Equality Units for University Excellence, complainants prefer some informal action so that the behavior by the aggressor ceases and not open a procedure that could lead to a sanction.
Cases of sexist violence, according to the Network, are not usually closed with their bureaucratic management, but often require maintaining psychological, legal or academic management support over time.