Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Consent is key

Preventing sexual harassment

Why this campaign?

Research commissioned by Amnesty International has shown that 64% of Dutch students do not know where to report sexual violence within their educational institution. And 11% of female students experience rape during their studies. Among male students the figure is 1%.  Anyone can experience sexual harassment, irrespective of gender. Men are known to be less likely to report experiences of this nature. Gay and bisexual men are known to experience it more often than average.  

With the Consent is Key campaign, Leiden University wants to draw attention to sexual harassment and get people talking about this difficult subject. We will work together to prevent sexual harassment and create a safe environment. On this page you can find out where to turn for help, further information and tips on how to respect other people’s boundaries. 

"Sexual harassment and violence will not be tolerated" Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl

What is sexual harassment?

Sexually transgressive behaviour, sexual violence and sexual intimidation all fall under the term sexual harassment. Any form of sexual behaviour that is perceived as unwanted or coerced by the person experiencing it is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is an umbrella term for all forms of sexual behaviour that are unwelcome or transgresses other people’s boundaries. Other terms for this are inappropriate sexual behaviour and sexual violence. It refers to sexual acts that are unwelcome and that people are forced to carry out, undergo or watch. People can also be deeply affected by unwelcome, sexually suggestive comments and intimidation, which means these too qualify as sexual harassment. In all events, it is good to seek help and important to know that such behaviour is neither normal nor acceptable.

Examples of sexual harassment include:  

• Physical contact that is against your will, such as unwanted touching, sexual assault or rape. 

• Intimidating or transgressive comments or (online) messages.

• Spreading sexually explicit images or messages without consent, or threatening to do so.

Where can you turn?

How do you give and get consent?

  • 1. Clear words and actions

    Have you had a nice date or met someone at a festival? Do you click and does it feel right? It’s still important that you both consent to sexual behaviour, both verbally and non-verbally. Always check your assumptions and expectations with the other person.

  • 2. Dare to ask

    Some people find it hard to decide where their boundaries are or to state them. If you notice that the other person is unsure and does not respond wholeheartedly to your proposal, help them (and yourself) by asking questions before taking the next step.

  • 3. Clear-headed and aware

    Are you both in a state where you can think clearly and make a decision? Also check this with the other person. Just because someone is drunk and snuggling up to you at a party doesn’t mean they consent to further sexual contact.

  • 4. Consent is voluntary

    Asking questions doesn’t mean putting pressure or steering someone in a direction that suits you. Consent can never be given if there is (peer) pressure, manipulation or physical violence.

  • 5. Alcohol is no excuse

    The reverse also applies: if someone is under the influence of alcohol (or drugs), this does not make unwelcome behaviour ok. They still are entitled to be safe and treated as an equal.

  • 6. You can always change your mind

    Even if you have both agreed to sexual contact, you can always stop. You’re allowed to change your mind. What the other person thinks is not your responsibility.

What is consent?

Let's talk about YES

On 10 March 2022, Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl signed Amnesty International’s ‘Let’s talk about YES’ manifesto against sexual violence. The University has therefore pledged its commitment to preventing sexual violence.

After signing the Amnesty manifesto, the University launched an action plan on tackling sexual harassment.  This focuses on prevention, better information, better support for students who have experienced sexual harassment and cooperation within the region and the University. The Consent is Key campaign is part of this action plan. 

Header and footer image by Margriet Osinga.



Discover the world at Leiden University

This website uses cookies.