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Archaeology students follow Bystander Intervention & Consent training: ‘We're better for having had it.’

In the past months all Leiden Archaeology students were asked to partake in the Bystander Intervention & Consent training. These workshops teach people how to recognise and safely intervene in situations they feel the need to act upon. We speak with two students who participated about their experiences.

The training was provided by the foundation Our Bodies Our Choice.

Putting tools into practice

First year Bachelor's student Athos did not expect to get anything new out of the training. ‘But I did! It was not a lecture, but a workshop, all about practicing and thinking of ways to put tools into practice. The trainer did a fantastic job as well, not speaking down to us, but talking on the same level.’

Alex, a BA3 student, concurs. ‘It was very nicely done. There was a part where we discussed hypothetical scenarios, to see what the best course of action would be. This was something I personally thought was helpful since there is no singular way of dealing with these situations.’


Both students had followed trainings like these before, ‘but it felt like a great refresher,’ Alex notes. ‘And I have also learned new things. ‘Because this was so interactive it really encouraged you to actively participate, if you felt comfortable doing so, leading to more students sharing different ideas and solutions. The new additional information is definitely something I will keep in mind if something were to happen in the future.’

And about what kind of scenarios are we talking? ‘I expected it only to be sexual consent,’ Athos states, ‘but it actually was about all kinds of things that are uncomfortable. And about how to interfere. It raised the awareness of certain comments, and the impact these can have on specific groups.’

Different approaches

Naturally, different situations call for different approaches, whether it is bullying, discrimination or different types of abuse. ‘There is not one answer to any situation,’ Athos explains. ‘Our trainer addressed that when you have done this training you have the feeling that you can be the hero. But it actually is all about de-escalation.’

Positive experience

The students seem to be generally approving of the training. ‘I have spoken to multiple students after the training, and I think we could all agree that this training was a good thing to have.’ Alex notes. ‘It gave us confirmation that we have acted accordingly during uncomfortable situations in our personal life, and it gave us alternative ways to deal with these situations in the future. I think it is important these days that we make sure to educate ourselves and we have the resources needed to do so. So, to have a training session for every student in the Faculty really helps.’

‘I found that the training also helped to create a social cohesion within my specific group of BA1 students,’ Athos adds. ‘I think it made everybody more comfortable addressing bad things. It was a positive experience and we’re better for having had it.'

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