GAUTIER A., DÉROFF Marie-Laure, HELLEGOUARC’H Sophie and PRIGENT Pierre-Guillaume, 2020, « Challenging Institutional Resistance: Collaborative Efforts Against Gender Based Violence at a French University », in MARINE Susan B. et LEWIS Ruth (ed.), Collaborating for Change: Transforming Cultures to End Gender-Based Violence in Higher Education, New York, Oxford University Press USA, p. 200-224
Numerous cases of sexual harassment in French higher education institutions led to the creation in 2002 of a student association dedicated to anti-sexist action against sexual harassment in higher education (CLASCHES), whose activities were supported by the Association Nationale d’Études Féministes (National Association for Feminist Studies). More than ten years later, the French Minister for Higher Education asked universities to take steps to eradicate sexual harassment and commissioned the Institut National des Études Démographiques (National Institute of Demographic Studies) to conduct a survey of violence and gender relations in universities.
This chapter presents the different actors involved in the implementation of this policy in a university in Western France: feminist professors and students, and the governing body of the university. This university is one of the four French universities where the survey was conducted in 2016. It showed that 32 percent of women students and 28 percent of men experienced violence in the previous twelve months.
LGBT, and disabled students, and those experiencing economic hardship experienced significantly higher rates of violence. Victims rarely formallycomplained about the incidents and those who did were not listened to. The university governing body set up a Victim Support Unit and organized activities annually to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. However it has not used the survey to develop a specific policy but, on the contrary, has tried to obscure the results. Students criticize the university’s governing body’s discourses for blaming victims and making perpetrators invisible.