One in six French-speaking students in higher education have been bullied

One in six French-speaking students in higher education have been bullied
Credit: Belga.

One in six students are said to have experienced harassment in higher education, according to a survey by the Federation of Francophone Students (FEF).

Published by Le Soir on Thursday, the survey was conducted among more than 3,000 French-speaking students during the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

While the Flemish university VUB has a new plan to tackle sexual misconduct, there is plenty of work to be done in French-speaking higher education.

The numbers behind these cases

Of those surveyed who were victims of bullying, 69.4% identify as women, 28.6% as men and 2% do not identify themselves in either category.

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Furthermore, the vast majority of them (89%) had suffered psychological harassment, with a further 23% having been bullied physically, and 12% of them experienced sexual harassment.

In 70% of these cases, the harasser was another student, while the remaining 30% were committed by professors, lecturers, teaching assistants or members of the administration.

What next?

More than 90% of victims say they have not filed a complaint and 62% had not reported the facts to their institution.

To that end, there are calls for an external and independent body to be created to deal with these cases of harassment and make it easier for victims to speak out.

In the same way that, in the northern part of the country, Flemish universities have recently launched 'Syllabuse,' a platform for students to report sexual misconduct.


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