- Räumlichkeiten für FLIT*(Frauen, Lesben, Inter- und Trans-)-Personen, die Schutz bieten, einen Rückzugsort darstellen und auch Beratung und Unterstützung anbieten
- Information für das Sicherheitspersonal über die bestehende Rechtslage bezüglich Sexualdelikte und Sensibilisierung für den Umgang mit Betroffenen von sexualisierten Übergriffen
- Information für Studierende über die Vorfälle
- Ein klares Vorgehen gegen die Täter seitens der Universität und der Justiz
- Langfristige Sensibilisierung von Lehrenden
At the end of January 2016 the law faculty representatives delivered a warning that an unknown perpetrator harasses female* students in toilets at the Juridicum of the University of Vienna. In two cases a charge has already been brought. More incidents of sexualised violence were reported on facebook and student factions pointed that sexualised assaults are not isolated cases. In reaction to this, the University hung up notes with phone numbers of the police and the security service. Protection against sexualised violence is different! Effective prevention measures are different! Female* students are exposed to various forms of violence at the University. Regarding this, the ÖH Uni Wien presents a catalogue of demands (which can be found below). First of all, we give an overview of the situation of women* at universities:
As if a professor was worth more than me
In 2013 the journal of the ÖH federal branch published the article ‚As if a professor was worth more than me‘ („Als wäre ein Professor mehr wert als ich“) which made sexual harassment at the University a subject of discussion. ‚In 2012 a study by Ruhr-University of Bochum questioned 22.000 female students in 34 institutions of higher education in Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and Great Britain on sexualised violence, harassment and stalking. During this EU project 61% of those questioned reported that they became subject to sexual harassment at least once during their study. About one third of those questioned pointed out that they suffered whistling or insinuating remarks. Nearly 15 % said that someone approached them in an uncomfortable way.‘
In 2015 it became public that a professor at the Vienna University of Economic Sciences committed sexual assaults against female* students and colleagues for years. The disciplinary commission of the BMWFW sentenced him only with a financial penalty. In an interview a woman affected talks about the systematic assaults: ‚Almost all interactions between him and women happened in a discriminatory, sexist or harassing way. These are systematic actions and not single cases of flirtation.‘ The professor abused his position of power. ‚He specifically selected women in weaker positions. Because of his tenure-track position he is more protected and he consciously took advantage of that.‘ At the institute this was known. Following the lenient sentence the women* affected felt left alone by the WU. ‚A financial penalty is out of proportion with the seriousness of the offences. The judgement only pointed out our powerlessness because the clemency seems to be some kind of legitimation.‘ Further, the non-disclosure agreement has to be criticised: ‚It is problematic that nobody can be warned and told that he has already been sentenced.‘
However, the WU professor who harasses students is no isolated case at Austrian universities. The ÖH anti-discrimination study shows: In the bachelor study 19,9 % of those questioned experienced incidents of discrimination. Among doctoral students the number is 42,7 % of those questioned. Some cases would have been relevant under criminal law, but 72 % did not report their experience of discrimination.
What should I do?
Women* affected can contact personally, by phone or via email the women*department at the ÖH Uni Wien. The department supports and counsels you and it takes clear sides. Counselling hours are on Mondays from 1 pm to 4 pm. We encourage everyone to report any kind of harassment.
Places to go are the Women's Emergency Hotline of the City of Vienna ((01)- 71 719) which accompanies women* affected to the hospital, the police or to court. In addition, there is the White Ring, an organization providing psychological advice to people affected by criminality: 0800 112 112
What can I do if am affected by discrimination (based on gender)? Here is an overview on the legal situation at the University:
The equal opportunities working parties exist since the early 1990s. They are obligatory by law and assigned with more competences by the UG novella. It is easy to contact them as the hompages of the universities show the subpage ‚equal opportunities working party‘ (“Arbeitskreis für Gleichbehandlungsfragen”). Their duties are the following: Preventing discrimination by university governing bodies and equal opportunity issues regarding religion, gender, ideology, sexual orientation, age, etc. In cases of discrimination or sexual harassment a complaint can be lodged with the equal opportunities working party, which can request a court of arbitration. Paragraph 42 Universitätsgesetz (university law) provides the legal basis for equal opportunities working parties.
Our demands are therefore quite clear:
- Rooms for FLIT*(Frauen/Women, Lesbian, Inter- and Trans-)-persons, in order to provide safe space, a place of retreat and a place where advice and support is given
- The security staff should be provided with information about the current legal situation concerning sex crime and they should be sensitized for the interaction with women* affected by sexual assaults
- Students should be informed about the incidents
- The University and the judiciary have to take clear action against the perpetrator
- Long-term sensitization of the teaching staff is required