TW: Domestic violence, gender-based violence
Welcome to KNOW - An end to Domestic Violence. Some people might be thinking that this is an odd campaign for a Student’s Union, while some of you might be thinking “YES - WE NEED THIS!”.
Well, yes! We thought so too. Domestic violence is a commonly silent problem and not something openly spoken among students - but students can be and are affected by domestic violence. Students often do not recognise when they are facing domestic violence and may not be sure what to do or what steps to take.
This is the end of the silence. We will not tolerate domestic violence in any form and it is time to speak out and take action.
The KNOW campaign is in collaboration with Queen Mary Student’s Union, and is comprised of three eponymous strands:
- Know: - KNOW the facts
- Raising awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence, particularly across student communities.
- Promoting an understanding of the various forms of abuse, the shapes they take and signs to look out for.
- Exploring reasons why it is difficult to escape abusive environments and provide information for local support services.
- No: We say NO
- KCLSU and QMSU take a public stand against domestic violence on and off campus in any form of relationship.
- Now: Take action NOW
- Take action right now and ask King’s College London and Queen Mary University to provide support to student survivors and/or victims of domestic violence.
- Learn to be an effective bystander
- Awareness around sexual health support and services.
- Services and organisations you can contact and tips to protect your health and wellbeing
Ways you can get involved:
- Join this campaign by signing up at kclsu.org/KNOW
- Participate in the events we have created for you, which so far include:
- Attend our craftivism from 26th to 28th November in Bush House (South East wing), where we want to hear your opinion on how we can make our institutions a more supportive place for domestic violence student survivors.
- Attend Q&A panel at Queen Mary with domestic abuse survivors and experts.
- Attend a film screening of Confirmation - a film that explores a true story regarding sexual harassment in professional environments.
A word from Rhiannon
“Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone and everyone. One in four women are affected by intimate partner violence during their lives - and many men too (with trans* people being disproportionately affected). In England and Wales, two women are murdered by their partners or ex-partners and three women die by suicide weekly as a result of domestic violence.
In 2015, British police gave domestic violence much-needed attention by making it a priority on their agenda - but universities are a big step behind.
The age group most frequently affected by domestic violence is 16-24 - the group to which most students belong to. Even with the current drive to tackle sexual misconduct and harassment, most universities are not talking about domestic violence. And reported cases are rising.
Despite its frequency, domestic violence continues to be misunderstood, with many attributing the term to instances of physical violence. The reality is deeply complex and can involve (often in combination) emotional manipulation, control, gaslighting and much more.
The most prevalent type of domestic abuse occurs in relationships. But the definition of domestic abuse also covers abuse between family members, such as adolescent to parent violence and abuse, or even between friends or those you share accommodation with.
Throughout my nursing degree, I interacted with many people experiencing many forms of domestic abuse, and understand the various impact of abuse on many peoples lives. This has to stop. This is why I am proud to be a part of the KNOW campaign.
We can make this better. We can make the change. The Sabbatical Officers at KCLSU and QMSU are excited to embark on this journey, kicking things off with the 16 days of action against domestic abuse and gender based violence.
Join us at KNOW to make change on your campus. We can’t wait to see what change you make with us.”
What inspired Nafiza?
“I was personally inspired to do this campaign because I am a survivor of domestic violence myself. I got married in April this year and the day after my husband started to abuse me for the 9 days I lived with him and the rest of the 4 months over the phone or social media with various threats, until I decided that this is it, I am not taking it anymore. As I started to speak out more, I realised that there are many victims out there that still face domestic abuse from their partners or have silently survived and carried on like it was something normal, and we all know this is not normal. The inspiration was when I was suffering in silence while I was finishing my masters and I didn’t know where to go for help. I have heard opinions from people across the education sector who feel that tackling domestic violence on campus is not a priority, as it is not prevalent or doesn’t affect students. When I joined KCLSU and I was deciding what to work on, I knew I wanted to campaign against domestic violence as a top priority because violence is silent issue that can be faced by anyone, including students too. I started to speak to even more people, and found Shamima, who inspired me to do this campaign as she was doing something similar and decided to join forces, along with Rhiannon and other people around. This time it won’t be a silent issue, it will be a loud change to end domestic violence around us.”
“As the Vice President Welfare at Queen Mary Students Union I have been working closely with the Executive officers at King's College London Students' Union to support their endeavours to raise awareness for domestic violence. It is a topic which is understandably difficult to talk about; it triggers and scares many. With 25% of women and 15% men being affected by domestic violence, the likelihood of you knowing someone who is affected is very high. Look around you. The chances are that in a crowd of, let’s say 10, the person standing next to you, silently going about their day, is also silently going through domestic abuse. This very silence, is what leads to the death of many. So let’s talk and listen. It’s time to encourage conversation and break that silence. We, both QMSU and KCLSU, want to emphasise and strengthen the message that silence towards domestic abuse is not a response. Facilitating discussions and providing you with information is your Executive Officer’s job. Carrying the conversation on and listening to those speaking out and supporting them, is all of ours… mine and yours. The next 16 days of this project aims to motivate you to talk, to seek more knowledge, to empathise and to engage with the topic of domestic violence.”
For more information, find out on the KCLSU website on kclsu.org or kclsu.org/KNOW. Find out the current support we have available in this link.