Eradicating campus-based violence in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan: Inclusive research, policy and action
In Kyrgyzstan, despite pervasive concerns with growing incidence and prevalence of sexual violence on university campuses, public response to sexual harassment in media outlets has been one of outward sexism, verbal aggression and victim-blaming. All this has happened against the backdrop of a 22% rate of sexual violence against university students. This project aims to generate contextualized, inclusive and evidence-based understanding of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) on university campuses in Kyrgyzstan, to inform sustainable policy action and activism. This would be the first comprehensive study to systematically assess campus sexual violence in various forms of victimization to explore campus readiness to address sexual violence, and to evaluate institutional framework in a specific university campus, namely the American University of Central Asia (AUCA). The study will utilize a critical approach to campus SGBV by interrogating existing systems of domination and power that uphold sexual assault – an innovative conceptual and methodological commitment, unique for Kyrgyzstan. Through quantitative and qualitative methodologies, the project will ultimately contribute to development and institutionalization of an efficient, comprehensive, inclusive, and evidence-based prevention and response system, cultivate broad-based collaboration, and build AUCA’s capacity to deal with SGBV. On the basis of our findings, we hope to develop, promote and introduce policy modifications, anti-SGBV programs, develop resources to prevent SGBV (training modules, modules for first-years for orientation week, modules for faculty, bystander training, etc), develop plans for systematic awareness raising and formulate recommendations for the project’s scaling out.