UT community experiences and sees transgressive behavior, but where to report it?

| Stan Waning

UT employees and students face varying degrees of transgressive behavior. This is evident from an exploratory research project by U-Today amongst the UT community. The majority of respondents do not know where to turn with their complaints.

Photo by: Enith Vlooswijk

The survey of 286 respondents found that eleven percent of employees who completed the survey had been victims of transgressive behavior. 'I froze, tried to say something, but it didn't work. In the end I went to the supervisor, after that it fortunately stopped,' writes one respondent. Among students, the percentage who experienced transgressive behavior was much higher: almost forty percent said they experienced it annually or more often. 

Employees report that physical violence rarely or never occurs on the work floor, but other forms - such as gossiping, verbal abuse or identity-based bullying - do play a role, according to them. The 'coffee machine in the corridor' is regularly mentioned as the location where the unwanted behavior takes place.


Mainly in nightlife venues in the Enschede city center, students see things taking a wrong turn, but also in student houses on campus or in the Sports Centre. They do not experience compliments about their appearance as annoying, but sexual remarks and unwanted touching are. This mainly involves: unwanted attempts to kiss, asking for sex and/or being cornered. 'I avoid clubs with a lot of men,' says one respondent.

If the transgressive behavior takes on a sexual connotation, the majority of respondents say they do not like it. They reject it if it happens to them, but only a minority does report the behavior. Seventeen percent of respondents report it to UT, five percent do so to other hotlines. One in six respondents knows exactly where to turn, although half of the respondents say they think they will find out as soon as it becomes necessary.

International respondents indicated even more difficulty in finding the right support. More than three quarters of respondents do not know where to turn with a report of undesirable behavior. Furthermore, the same patterns are visible among international respondents as among Dutch respondents.

U-Today conducted research on transgressive behavior at the UT over the past few weeks through a survey to assess the scope of the issue. 286 respondents participated in the survey. The results are therefore not representative of the UT community, but do paint a picture. The survey was conducted in cooperation with the independent research firm Newcom.

If you experience any negative thoughts or feelings after reading this article, it may be good to contact a counselor. The Center for Sexual Violence offers help to anyone who has experienced an unwanted sexual experience. You can chat for free and anonymously or call 0800-0188.

Illustrations by Enith Vlooswijk.

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