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    ‘Legal flirting’ lecture offered to Ghent students

    The guest lecture will take place on 20 February at 7:00 PM in Auditorium 2 Franz Cumont Blandijn. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

    The University of Ghent will offer its students the opportunity to attend a guest lecture on “legal flirting” in February this year.

    Pioneered by the Ghent Student Council, the guest lecture will be delivered by Dr Liesbet Stevens, Professor of Sexual Criminal Law at the Interfaculty Institute for Family and Sexuality Sciences at KU Leuven.

    The lecture is part of a wider student-led campaign for improved awareness of appropriate sexual behaviour in nightlife settings.

    “We want to stimulate social debate around this. In a positive way. It’s not about targeting men,” chairman of Ghent’s social council, Sarah Van Acker, told Nieuwsblad.

    It is a good idea, according to Stevens, who has authored a book on how to legally flirt and who will deliver the guest lecture to the students at the University of Ghent on 20 February 2020.

    “University is a period in which students suddenly get more freedom and start experimenting. They discover what kind of people they want to be, without mum and dad looking over their shoulder. Throw in some booze and you create risk,” Stevens explained, adding that it is no great coincidence that female students have pushed the theme onto the University’s agenda.

    “They are more anxious about sexual harassment because they face it much more than men. It is one of the first forms of discrimination young women face. But there is hope. It used to be mostly women who came to my lectures. Now one in three is a man. That means we’re really thinking about how [men and women] should interact with each other,” the professor continued.

    Students at the University of Ghent think it is good that people will get more of an explanation as to what is appropriate and what is not, but they emphasise that it will only work if the right people attend.

    “I fear that those who need it most will not come,” a student told VRT.

    Last year, the Flemish expertise centre for sexual health taught students at the University how to intervene when they witness sexually transgressive behaviour at parties and in nightlife settings more generally.

    Evie McCullough
    The Brussels Times