University protocols as a response
The conference included the roundtable "University response to male violence: Guiding protocol for universities", chaired by Rosa Cerarols, professor at Pompeu Fabra University, with the participation of Laura Román, secretary general of the CIC; Montserrat Iglesias, professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona; Barbara Biglia, professor at the Rovira i Virgili University, and Maria Olivella, director of the Equality Unit at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).
The roundtable discussed the context and the current status of the tools contained in the University Gide Protocol to prevent and redress with due diligence situations of gender-based violence, sexual harassment and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, which was presented to the CIC Women and Science Commission in February 2023. The objective was to monitor the specific protocols of each university. The participants expressed the progress that this protocol represents, especially regarding the new intervention model, which puts the protection and reparation of the victim at the center, but have highlighted some difficulties in implementing it. Thus, they have highlighted the lack of legal alignment between the different units of the Catalan universities; the existing differences between the different universities for reasons of volume and geographical location; the lack of human and economic resources to apply the protocol or the difficulties to break power dynamics in the government teams and the institution itself.
The conference continued with an interview with the singer Zahara by Catalunya Ràdio journalist Montserrat Virgili. The artist confessed to being a victim of childhood abuse and mistreatment by a previous partner and talked about how she overcame it, through therapy and the transformative power of art, with the renowned album Puta. "It was the word they used to call me in the schoolyard when I was little, and verbalizing it and getting it out was the way to overcome it", she said. She also explained her experience in the music world: "I've had to be more of a man than men themselves in order to lead. And I think we must find our own way to lead. In this sense, the young people of today have many more tools than us to do so".
The conference ended with speeches by the rector of the UB, Joan Guàrdia, who gave the closing speech to the Catalan minister for Equality and Feminisms, Tània Verge, who compared this day with that of the women of 1976. "It has only been seven or eight years since we have had decent protocols that typify sexist violence," she said. And she celebrated the fact that the university is an area in which to work against sexist violence. She also mentioned that not everyone was there: "Today there are still nine universities missing in the front row". She also called for more participation and for cases to stop being hushed up. "We owe ourselves to the principle of due diligence," she reiterated. She ended by calling for "the university space to be built as a feminist space". The rector, for his part, acknowledged that "there is still much to be done, but the duty of the university is to transform citizens. "In this sense, we will not take a single step back," he said.