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‘Disturbing picture’ of sexual harassment, assault at Australian universities


The report, primarily based on a survey of greater than 30,000 college students throughout 39 universities, painted a “disturbing image” of sexual assault and harassment confronted by college students, mentioned Kate Jenkins, the intercourse discrimination commissioner on the Australian Human Rights Fee.

Some 51% mentioned they have been sexually harassed in 2015 or 2016 and about 7% of college college students have been sexually assaulted no less than as soon as in the identical timeframe, the report discovered.

Of those that confronted sexual harassment, one in 5 mentioned it occurred “at a college setting” in 2016.

The report made 9 suggestions to Australia’s universities, together with evaluating the processes college students use to report assault and harassment and efforts to vary attitudes and conduct.

“Sexual assault and harassment haven’t any place in Australian universities, simply as they haven’t any place anyplace in Australia,” mentioned Simon Birmingham, Minister for Training.

The report’s definition of sexual harassment included: staring or leering; insults of a sexual nature; displaying posters of a sexual nature; sending sexually specific messages; and requests for intercourse or repeated undesirable requests to exit on dates, amongst different issues.

“We should and we are going to do higher,” mentioned Professor Brian Schmidt, the vice-chancellor of the Australian Nationwide College.

‘Too prevalent’

Jenkins mentioned the report contained three vital findings: that sexual assault and harassment are “far too prevalent in college settings,” that the issue is underneath reported and that universities have to do extra to stymie it.

Different nations have drawn comparable conclusions relating to the problem of sexual assault and harassment on campus, although the numbers might differ per nation.

A groundbreaking 2015 study by the Affiliation of American Universities (AAU) discovered that 23% of girls mentioned they skilled some type of undesirable sexual contact — starting from kissing to touching to rape, carried out by drive or menace of drive, or whereas they have been incapacitated due to alcohol and medicines. Practically 11% mentioned the undesirable contact included penetration or oral intercourse.
A 2016 report by the Universities UK mentioned “on sexual violence explicitly, there is no such thing as a complete information obtainable to point what number of UK college college students are affected by such incidents,” however the British media have tried to uncover the scope of the problem. The Telegraph reported in 2015 that as many as one in three ladies could also be abused or assaulted on campus.

Rape tradition?

Of the scholars who mentioned they’d been assaulted, 1.6% have been sexually assaulted in a college setting. Australia’s authorized code typically defines sexual assault as sexual activity or sexual penetration (together with oral intercourse) with out consent, in line with the report.

Forty % of scholars who have been sexually assaulted in school setting didn’t report the latest incident as a result of they didn’t assume it was severe sufficient to advantage it. One other 40% mentioned they did not need assistance, the report mentioned.

Pupil representatives mentioned universities may have acted earlier to fight sexual harassment and violence.

“Universities have helped rape tradition flourish on and off campus. Vice Chancellors have to personal up and apologize for not defending us, for letting perpetrators off the hook whereas we’re left to drop out of college,” mentioned Abby Stapleton of the Australian Nationwide Union of College students Ladies’s Workplace and a scholar at Monash College.

“This report launch is monumental for college students all over the place, universities can now not get away with silencing us, our experiences are mirrored within the information … We have been preventing this 50 years in the past and if reform is not achieved we’ll proceed to combat.”



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