Hate Crime Awareness Week

As it's National Hate Crime Awareness Week, Welfare Officer Shona Johnson looks into Hate Crime in University and the importance of reporting it:

Trigger warning: racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism and harassment of a sexual nature.

National Hate Crime Awareness Week is upon us once more, and with every day that passes we are coming closer and closer to the end of 2017. In a lot of ways, we live in a progressive time – in 2015 the United States Supreme Court ruled state-level bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, a huge step forward for the LGBTQIA+ community, and in 2016 the United Kingdom saw its second ever female Prime Minister take up residence at 10 Downing Street. However, 2017 has brought with it a 20% rise in reported hate crimes across major U.S. cities compared to last year, in which people living in the U.S.A. saw a national increase of 5%.

In all the pandemonium of the last few years (what with Trump’s 2016 election and the numerous terrorist attacks wrought on civilians across the world as a whole) you would think that University Campuses would remain places of relative safe-space, protected from bigotry, religious and racially-motivated hostility – but sadly all across the U.K. and internationally students face incidents of hate and hate crimes on a surprisingly frequent, and sadly persistent basis. I reached out to students at Universities across the U.K. for their experiences of hate incidents and crimes at their institutions to raise awareness of the prejudices that certain groups face even as students, these acts of hostility cannot be ignored or simply swept under the rug. All names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

Tom, 22

“Nights out are always hard as someone with chronic illness. I spend a lot of my time in my wheelchair, which is beyond awkward when you go clubbing. For starters, a lot of clubs don’t actually have wheelchair access and I have had numerous encounters with bouncers that just treat me like an inconvenience whenever I turn up at the door. However, this particular incident occurred in a club that actually had wheelchair access. I had decided to leave my chair by the bar while I danced with my friends, the bar staff had told me they would keep an eye on it, however, the place was pretty busy and they had a lot of people to serve. Upon my return to my chair, I was horrified to see that it had been graffitied. My chair is beige, and scrawled across the back of it in black writing was the word ‘retard’ in capital letters. We reported it to the police who had a look at the club’s CCTV footage, though it only counted as a ‘hate incident’ as it was graffiti. The girl who did it was ordered to pay to replace my wheelchair, but it has absolutely ruined nights out for me now and I seldom bother from fear of something like that happening again.”

Sarah, 19

“My grandparents are from Beijing, but moved to the U.K. before they had my mum – I was born and raised in Birmingham, which is a pretty diverse place and I never experienced much racism there. I thought going to University in London was a smart move, as it is also massively diverse, however, I have been verbally abused for my race more times than I can count. I learned to speak Mandarin at a young age and often do so with my group of friends at uni. I remember one occasion while waiting to go into one of my lectures I was talking with my friends in Mandarin, and I overheard a guy walking past say to his friend ‘Why are there so many f***ing ch**ks in this place?’. This sort of thing happens all the time, and I wish I could tell you that this was the worst thing I ever heard. It’s dehumanizing and people don’t realise the divide that they are embedding into the student community.”

Sam, 25

“About a week after news of the Westminster Attack hit the media, I was called a ‘F***ing terrorist’ and told to ‘Go back to Pakistan’ by a charming young man having a cigarette outside our SU building. I’m from Weston-super-Mare .”

Lisa, 21

“A guy I knew started impersonating myself and a load of my female friends on social media, he made these hypersexualized twitter accounts for all of us – encouraging people to print out our pictures, ejaculate onto them, take pictures of it and send them to us. He even went so far as to encourage people to attack one of my friends in the street if they saw her, implying that it was a ‘kink’ of hers. He would also follow us around campus, on one occasion I was practically chased out of the library by him. He had also committed revenge pornography against one of my friends, and had been convicted previously for doing it to a 13-year-old girl, on top of charges of possessing indecent images of children when he was 17. He is still on a suspended sentence for what he has done and is not allowed on social media, but I still see the odd post of his appear on reddit from time to time – and there are still most likely accounts and pictures out there on the internet of us all, just better hidden. This was misogyny like I’d never seen it before, and had a detrimental impact on my mental health. It was a large contributor to a failed suicide attempt I made late last year. No woman should have to go through what we went through, at the time it made me feel ashamed and scared – which now, only makes me angry and determined to fight gender and sexually-driven injustice wherever I find it.”

Sophie, 21

“I am the first black, female president our Students’ Union has ever had. I was told at a meeting ‘Oh you're the president? Well you've certainly shattered some glass ceilings' by a senior member of staff at our University, it might have been meant to be a compliment but I found it offensive.”

 

There is much change still needed in the way of stopping hate crimes and incidents from happening, progress takes a long time and we may never fully get there – but the best that you can do is to report it. Even if you think it’s not a big deal, report it to the police. Anyone can be a victim of hate crime and too many incidents go unreported and too many offenders go unpunished. Speak out against hatred, don’t let your voice go unheard.

Come along to Fulton House on Wednesday and Thursday to learn more about Hate Crime and how to report it and to help us raise money with our cake sale!

As it's National Hate Crime Awareness Week, Welfare Officer Shona Johnson looks into Hate Crime in University and the importance of reporting it:

Trigger warning: racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism and harassment of a sexual nature.

National Hate Crime Awareness Week is upon us once more, and with every day that passes we are coming closer and closer to the end of 2017. In a lot of ways, we live in a progressive time – in 2015 the United States Supreme Court ruled state-level bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, a huge step forward for the LGBTQIA+ community, and in 2016 the United Kingdom saw its second ever female Prime Minister take up residence at 10 Downing Street. However, 2017 has brought with it a 20% rise in reported hate crimes across major U.S. cities compared to last year, in which people living in the U.S.A. saw a national increase of 5%.

In all the pandemonium of the last few years (what with Trump’s 2016 election and the numerous terrorist attacks wrought on civilians across the world as a whole) you would think that University Campuses would remain places of relative safe-space, protected from bigotry, religious and racially-motivated hostility – but sadly all across the U.K. and internationally students face incidents of hate and hate crimes on a surprisingly frequent, and sadly persistent basis. I reached out to students at Universities across the U.K. for their experiences of hate incidents and crimes at their institutions to raise awareness of the prejudices that certain groups face even as students, these acts of hostility cannot be ignored or simply swept under the rug. All names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

Tom, 22

“Nights out are always hard as someone with chronic illness. I spend a lot of my time in my wheelchair, which is beyond awkward when you go clubbing. For starters, a lot of clubs don’t actually have wheelchair access and I have had numerous encounters with bouncers that just treat me like an inconvenience whenever I turn up at the door. However, this particular incident occurred in a club that actually had wheelchair access. I had decided to leave my chair by the bar while I danced with my friends, the bar staff had told me they would keep an eye on it, however, the place was pretty busy and they had a lot of people to serve. Upon my return to my chair, I was horrified to see that it had been graffitied. My chair is beige, and scrawled across the back of it in black writing was the word ‘retard’ in capital letters. We reported it to the police who had a look at the club’s CCTV footage, though it only counted as a ‘hate incident’ as it was graffiti. The girl who did it was ordered to pay to replace my wheelchair, but it has absolutely ruined nights out for me now and I seldom bother from fear of something like that happening again.”

Sarah, 19

“My grandparents are from Beijing, but moved to the U.K. before they had my mum – I was born and raised in Birmingham, which is a pretty diverse place and I never experienced much racism there. I thought going to University in London was a smart move, as it is also massively diverse, however, I have been verbally abused for my race more times than I can count. I learned to speak Mandarin at a young age and often do so with my group of friends at uni. I remember one occasion while waiting to go into one of my lectures I was talking with my friends in Mandarin, and I overheard a guy walking past say to his friend ‘Why are there so many f***ing ch**ks in this place?’. This sort of thing happens all the time, and I wish I could tell you that this was the worst thing I ever heard. It’s dehumanizing and people don’t realise the divide that they are embedding into the student community.”

Sam, 25

“About a week after news of the Westminster Attack hit the media, I was called a ‘F***ing terrorist’ and told to ‘Go back to Pakistan’ by a charming young man having a cigarette outside our SU building. I’m from Weston-super-Mare .”

Lisa, 21

“A guy I knew started impersonating myself and a load of my female friends on social media, he made these hypersexualized twitter accounts for all of us – encouraging people to print out our pictures, ejaculate onto them, take pictures of it and send them to us. He even went so far as to encourage people to attack one of my friends in the street if they saw her, implying that it was a ‘kink’ of hers. He would also follow us around campus, on one occasion I was practically chased out of the library by him. He had also committed revenge pornography against one of my friends, and had been convicted previously for doing it to a 13-year-old girl, on top of charges of possessing indecent images of children when he was 17. He is still on a suspended sentence for what he has done and is not allowed on social media, but I still see the odd post of his appear on reddit from time to time – and there are still most likely accounts and pictures out there on the internet of us all, just better hidden. This was misogyny like I’d never seen it before, and had a detrimental impact on my mental health. It was a large contributor to a failed suicide attempt I made late last year. No woman should have to go through what we went through, at the time it made me feel ashamed and scared – which now, only makes me angry and determined to fight gender and sexually-driven injustice wherever I find it.”

Sophie, 21

“I am the first black, female president our Students’ Union has ever had. I was told at a meeting ‘Oh you're the president? Well you've certainly shattered some glass ceilings' by a senior member of staff at our University, it might have been meant to be a compliment but I found it offensive.”

 

There is much change still needed in the way of stopping hate crimes and incidents from happening, progress takes a long time and we may never fully get there – but the best that you can do is to report it. Even if you think it’s not a big deal, report it to the police. Anyone can be a victim of hate crime and too many incidents go unreported and too many offenders go unpunished. Speak out against hatred, don’t let your voice go unheard.

Come along to Fulton House on Wednesday and Thursday to learn more about Hate Crime and how to report it and to help us raise money with our cake sale!

 

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