One of the things I've been struck by is how many hoops someone has to jump through to get access to sexual health and assault resources.
This is especially problematic because when you have been through a traumatic sexual experience, you ay be in a very vulnerable mental state. We shouldn't have to ask survivors to spend so much time and energy simply searching for support when they should be spending that time and energy on healing.
When you're a survivor, the answers to your needs have to be right there in front of you.
In November 2021, I decided to address this problem by creating cards with three key features:
straightforward access to college-based resources. Students can simply scan a code to order free menstrual and sexual health supplies and panic alarms via the college welfare system. There is also the name of the college nurse, as well as the local GP and pharmacy.
three main sexual health resources for STI testing and contraception
three main sexual assault resources for emotional and practical support, including OSARCC (the Oxford Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centre) and the Oxford University ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor)
The biggest obstacle I faced was coming up with a design where all this can be fit onto one card. After several drafts, I got there!
Then, once I compared quotas to determine the most cost-effective printing service, the project secured funding from the JCR Welfare Committee.
1000 cards were ordered and hand-delivered to every "pigeon hole" in St Hugh's college -- that's over 800 students!
The remaining cards were set out in high-traffic areas in college, such as the Porter's Lodge and JCR (Junior Common Room).
The project was a great success, as shown by a surge of positive reactions on social media and an online student survey, like:
"Very concise and great information!"
"This is such a good idea and really helpful and clear!! Thank you!!"
Although the first 500 cards were printed on the cheapest available paper, after student feedback raised concerns about sustainability, the next 500 cards were printed on recycled paper with biodegradable plant-based ink, whilst keeping to the budget!
Now that I'm Co-Chair of It Happens Here, I am excited to adapt this project to other colleges. Hopefully, we will be able to get these resources to all >12 000 undergraduates... and postgraduates, too!
- Nicola (Co-Chair of It Happens Here)
Interested in expanding this project to your college?
Contact Nicola via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.