Sexual Harassment Officers Report – Week 2, Sem 1, 2019

Sonia Gao, Charlotte Plashik, Layla Mkh and Jazz Breen.

During the Welcome Week, We wrote an article about ‘How to identify and prevent sexual harassment in the o-week’ with women’s office, and we posted it on the SRC official Wechat platform, which was viewed over 1500 times within 3 days. Inspired by the good response. we’re thinking about if we could share it on Facebook. Besides, We also created a new section with the women’s office called ‘Girls Channel’ in the Wechat platform so that we could post more articles about women’s safety and sexual harassment to share with our readers. And the following details are the main ideas of our Wechat airticle:

1.What is Sexual Harassment? We discussed the definition of sexual harassment at start to tell the subject of our airticle.
2. How to identify if I was sexual harassed? We listed 11 different ways of actions for different levels that could be considered as harassment.
3. What is Sexual Consent? In this part, we discussed if sexual behaviors with consent are not sexual harassment. Besides, this topic is also connected with an important section on Canvas.
4. Why Sexual Harassment is more frequent in the Welcome week? According to results of a survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission, we can see the potential dangers in campus during special periods.
5. How to protect oneself? There are 5 efficient tips recommended to prevent oneself from being harassed.
6. Does Sexual Harassment have a gender preference? No. Male and female are both have chances to suffer threats.
7. Where to go for help? We gave different potions depending on urgent situations and right protection after.

As Sexual harassment officers, we are excited that we witnessed a fantastic start of this year, during the o-week, and we hope the students could really benefit from our works.

contact: harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au

SRC Sexual Harassment Officers Report – Week 4, Sem 2,2017

Sexual Harassment Officers’ Report
Nina Dillon Britton and Jessica Syed

We write to you at a pivotal time regarding tangible progress relating to sexual assault and harassment on campus. The results of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) national survey into sexual violence in Australian universities was released last week. Though its results were shocking, with more than half of students experiencing such violence in 2016, they were not surprising. In particular, they were not suprising for survivors who have been adamant about their experiences for years – experiences which Universities did not take seriously and in, in spite of this report, experiences that universities will still not take seriously.

It’s important to remember USyd’s track record when an event like this puts its reputation in the limelight. Hastily condemning St Paul’s College after a sexist Facebook post goes viral, absolutely committing to the recommendations put forward in the AHRC report, et cetera.

Then, behind our backs, deploying campus security to remove posters advertising the August 2nd anti-sexual violence rally, refusing to take on board the advice given by student representatives and survivors during consultative committees, not instating a sexual-assault specific counsellor within CAPS, not publicising its own helpline for complaints. It’s not good enough.

What we’re saying to you is: don’t let your guard down, and don’t let USyd ride this PR wave. If you identify as a woman or non-binary person, join the USyd Wom*n’s Collective on Facebook and help continue to build the campaign. Call out rape culture if you spot it in your tutes or amongst your friends. Keep an eye out for rallies and events; take a stand.

Some good news: the National University Support Line is now active 24/7 until November 30; if you need to speak to a trauma-specialist counsellor, the number is 1800 572 224.

We would like to use this space this week to congratulate the work of 2016 Wom*n’s officer Anna Hush, and her 2017 counterparts, Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn who in tandem with each other continue to do inspiring and important work in the face of a system which won’t budge. It is only through the tireless work
of activists like them – such as the organisation of the mass multi-university protest that happened on Wednesday – that we will see change.

If you have experienced sexual assault or harassment, feel free to contact us at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC Sexual Harassment Oficer Report – Week 2, Sem 2, 2017

Nina Dillon Britton and Jessica Syed

We write to you at a pivotal time regarding tangible progress relating to sexual assault and harassment on campus. The results of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) national survey into sexual violence in Australian universities was released last week. Though its results were shocking, with more than half of students experiencing such violence in 2016, they were not surprising. In particular, they were not suprising for survivors who have been adamant about their experiences for years – experiences which Universities did not take seriously and in, in spite of this report, experiences that universities will still not take seriously.

It’s important to remember USyd’s track record when an event like this puts its reputation in the limelight. Hastily condemning St Paul’s College after a sexist Facebook post goes viral, absolutely committing to the recommendations put forward in the AHRC report, et cetera.
Then, behind our backs, deploying campus security to remove posters advertising the August 2nd anti-sexual violence rally, refusing to take on board the advice given by student representatives and survivors during consultative committees, not instating a sexual-assault specific counsellor within CAPS, not publicising its own helpline for complaints. It’s not good enough.

What we’re saying to you is: don’t let your guard down, and don’t let USyd ride this PR wave. If you identify as a woman or non-binary person, join the USyd Wom*n’s Collective on Facebook and help continue to build the campaign. Call out rape culture if you spot it in your tutes or amongst your friends. Keep an eye out for rallies and events; take a stand.

Some good news: the National University Support Line is now active 24/7 until November 30; if you need to speak to a trauma-specialist counsellor, the number is 1800 572 224.

We would like to use this space this week to congratulate the work of 2016 Wom*n’s officer Anna Hush, and her 2017 counterparts, Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn who in tandem with each other continue to do inspiring and important work in the face of a system which won’t budge. It is only through the tireless work of activists like them – such as the organisation of the mass multi-university protest that happened on Wednesday – that we will see change.
If you have experienced sexual assault or harassment, feel free to contact us at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC Sexual Harrassment Officers Report – Week 7, Sem 1, 2017

JESSICA SYED, NINA DILLON BRITTON, IMAN FARRAR and ELLA (RACHEL) BICKLEY

If you’ve found this report – good work! Ella and Iman here, 2/4 of your Sexual Harassment Officers for 2017.

Before we get started we’d like to say – please feel free to get in touch with any queries or concerns, or even if you’d just like to get involved with the work we’re doing on the SRC this year! We’re available at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.
The devastating reality is that 72% of female students have reported experiencing unwanted sexual advances, harassment, stalking, assault or rape on campus, and we believe that this is unacceptable. The Human Rights Commissioner, Gillian Triggs, expressed deep concern for the statistics emerging from the survey findings thus far. Despite having support of all vice-chancellors from 39 Universities involved in the survey, we are concerned that The University of Sydney’s lack of action on the matter due to its image – further exhibited by the CCTV footage of a man attempting to sexually assault a woman in the University of Sydney carpark. Had Channel 7 news not obtained that footage through FOI, this issue would have likely been, yet again, swept under the rug.

This year we would like to campaign to raise awareness of sexual assault on campus and also to make students more aware of their rights. As we mentioned in our first report, our main goal is to secure a Sexual Assault Lawyer for the SRC. However, what we would like students to know is that the SRC is available to them if they have any queries or need to more information about access to particular services – we are here to help and will, if needed, direct you to professional services for further assistance.

What we’ve been up to…

On O-WEEK, we joined in on the Stop Sexual Harassment on Campus campaign – and helped bring attention to the issue of sexual assault by joining MP’s, Tanya Plibersek and Jo Haylen, for a press conference on campus. We’re hoping that the involvement of both state and federal MP’s will draw attention to this issue and encourage the University to both acknowledge, and take greater action on the issue.

Please note – if you or anyone you know has been impacted by sexual assault do not hesitate to email us – all emails are confidential and we will direct you to professional resources as required.

Sexual Harassment Officer – Week 5, Sem 1, 2017

Sexual Harassment Officers’ Report
Jessica Syed, Nina Dillon Britton, Iman Farrar and Ella (Rachel) Bickley

Hi! We’re Jessica Syed and Nina Dillon Britton, two of your Sexual Harassment Officers for 2017! We’ll be working to hold the University to account in supporting survivors of sexual harassment and assault on campus, as well as ensuring they take all possible steps to stop these instances.
So, the wins so far this year:

The USyd Survivor’s Network launched in O-Week, providing for the first time an on campus support network for survivors of sexual assault. The organisation is led by survivors and aims to provide support, resources and a platform to advocate for change and eliminate stigma.
The University has unexpectedly announced they will be reviewing their stance on mandatory consent modules. A module is currently being trialled. If any such trial does fail for whatever reason, we are committed to pushing management to find and implement something that works.
We have put together information pamphlets in both English and Mandarin distributed tat O-Week. We want to make sure we are aiding those who face barriers in accessing support following instances of sexual violence. We would like to thank Xia Bonan for kindly translating the pamphlet.

There’s still a long way to go. Though the university has launched its reporting system, a hotline called 1800SYDHELP, it has done so with minimal student consultation. Both we and this year’s Wom*ns officer’s are yet to be convinced that the service does not inadvertently traumatise survivors. In light of this opacity – strengthened by the university’s lack of advertising for their own initiative – we are still reluctant to refer survivors to 1800SYDHELP.

Our main priority for 2017 is ensuring that a sexual assault specific lawyer is made available within the SRC. It was more than a year ago that SRC lawyers first expressed that this is a vital necessity within the SRC for students, and we cannot agree more. We will continue to support the Wom*n’s Officers in striving to gain funding for this goal and hope to see it realised by the end of our term.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual assault, please do not hesitate to email us at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au and we will direct you to professional resources that you can access. Feel free also to attend an information session about such resources on Wednesday 5th April in Carslaw lecture Room 452 – there will be free pizza.

Sexual Harassment Officer’s Report, Week 5, Sem 2, 2016

Olivia Borgese

“I’ve spoken to students all around Australia and it’s the same story. It feels like groundhog day.”

Bill Murray’s iconic film is a sad but fitting reference to the discourse and lack of University action in regards to sexual harassment and assault on campus. After reading Nina Dillon Britton’s article on Nina Funnell in Honi (‘The Most Empowering Thing I Ever Did Was Politicize My Own Assault’), the driving force behind Funnell’s advocacy for sexual assault survivors strikes me as just this; students valiantly leading the charge whilst the university drags its feet behind, bringing a very lacklustre effort to any change.
The momentous success of student activism against sexual harassment and assault on campus this year has received a lot of positive media coverage. Yet the University’s constant failure to support students that have experienced harassment and/or assault, combined with inadequate and inappropriate reporting mechanisms, a lack of disciplinary action against perpetrators and a timid avoidance of the deep-rooted misogyny of the colleges remains disappointing and disheartening.

Why has nothing changed since Funnell’s experience on campus? Why are we are still fighting for the students who have to face their perpetrators on Eastern Avenue with no institutional support? Why are there still no clear procedures on how to report experiences of harassment and assault?

Funnell doesn’t think anything has changed since she was at University and neither do I.
We can’t lose momentum, we need to re-frame the fight. Fighting against sexual harassment and assault shouldn’t be an activist movement – regardless of our gender, age, race, religion or political stance, we all deserve to be safe and supported on and off-campus.

If you are interested in ending the time loop, please send me an email at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au or contact the Usyd Wom*n’s Collective 2016 via Facebook.

Sexual Harassment Officer’s Report – Week 8, Sem 1, 2016

When we talk about sexual harassment and assault, we have an unfortunate habit of universalizing, and therefore reducing, the quality of the discussion. We often fail to acknowledge the diverse and individual nature in which sexual harassment and assault affect us all differently.
An alarming amount of research highlights the disproportionate rates of sexual harassment and assault amongst Indigenous Wom*n. In 2012, it was estimated that an Indigenous Wom*n was 6 times more likely to be sexually abused than a non-Indigenous Wom*n and 34 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of domestic violence.

Sensationalist media headlines feed us these statistics as a‘national crisis’ –but their reports frequently erase the multifaceted nature of Indigenous Wom*n’s lived experiences. In ‘Black Panther Woman’ (2014), Marlene Cummins
shares her experiences of sexual assault as a young woman, not wanting to report the crime in fear of further demonising the Indigenous men in her community. Although this documentary is amongst the few platforms that have given a voice to someone who might otherwise remain unheard, Cummings has said post-release that she was not given any counselling despite her trauma in recounting her assault onscreen.

Although Marlene’s story is one of inspiration and strength for all Wom*n, support for her story cannot just be empty rhetoric: experience teaches us that we must prioritise the services available for Wom*n, especially Indigenous Wom*n, in order to create a supportive network for those who have experienced sexual assault and harassment.

We need to give agency to Wom*n whose voices are overshadowed, listen to their stories and support them. As Celeste Liddle wrote last year, “Aboriginal women are strong. They are survivors who have borne the brunt not only of all policies of colonisation enacted upon our people in this country, but also the ripple effects and transgenerational trauma for several decades. They need to be given the space and support to address issues of violence within communities. Continuing the discussions on gender, and how this intersects with racism and poverty making Aboriginal women more vulnerable is imperative to tackling the problem of Violence Against Women”.

If you need help, advice or support or know someone who does, call 1800 Respect.

Sexual Harassment Officer’s Report – Week 3, Sem 1, 2016

It’s more than just ‘a joke’. Humour is old, humour is new. It can be basic, convoluted, quick, long-winded and it can be dogs that look like fried chicken. For those who devote their lives to it – it’s a daring step into unknown and unsettling territory. But whilst humour (and the internet) are forever, sexism, racism, transphobia, ableism, transmisogyny and queerphobia don’t have to be.

An inappropriate joke isn’t ‘just having a laugh’. We shouldn’t have to ‘lighten up, relax,’ or listen to ‘it’s ok, I don’t actually believe it.’ Because no matter what you say they are always doing harm – maybe not to those who hear the joke, but through these every day passing comments they normalise the inferiority of wom*n and non-cis male bodies in a casual, ‘socially accepted’ way. These jokes dominate our social spaces and perpetuate the way society still sees us as second-tier, from when we are children, through education, our workplaces, on the street and even our own homes.
As Sexual Harassment Officers, one of our main focuses this semester is to draw awareness to the harmful nature of oppressive comments and jokes.

Offensive jokes follow us everywhere. They might be in a tute, something going viral on social media, a meme, an ad, a lewd caption on a Tinder profile, in your favourite show, or maybe just a conversation at the dinner table with unfortunate family members. Some are subtle, some are more explicit – but all are wrong. There are many different types of uncomfortable – but if you feel hurt, humiliated, offended, uneasy or even if something just doesn’t sit right when you hear one of these ‘jokes’ – it’s always right to let them know. (If you feel safe and comfortable doing so!)
It’s always more than just ‘a joke’.

Olivia Borgese and Gina Tran

Sexual Harrassment Officers’ Report – Halloween Harassment

“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

Mean Girls, a personal and word-wide favourite and classic. Notoriously one of the most quotable movies of our generation. So it is no real surprise that a quote jumps to mind, however I am shocked that this is the first time that I’ve really considered the implications of it.

As most of us know, Halloween is quickly approaching. From the never ending Facebook events that all claim to be “Sydney’s best halloween event” to a substantial increase of terrifying clown costume present at Target, this new holiday/partying tradition grows more and more in popularity each year.

Yes it is true, Halloween is an occasion to whip out that ruined sheet you have and transform it into the classic toga, or the last minute friendly ghost but it also a time that allows folks to be/wear whatever they want to without condemnation. And to me that is sad.

We live in a society where fashion is often used to express personality, however when your clothing choices is deemed socially unacceptable, things can get bad.
There’s a real unsaid belief in the world we live in, that if you wear clothes with shorter hem lines, it’s acceptable to throw insults and names your way. That you deserve everything that is thrown at you based on that you wear.

Regardless of the length of your hemline, you should feel comfortable in leaving the house without having being yelled at, called a slut or even assaulted. One of the first things police ask you after reporting a rape is “what were you wearing?” And that’s something that is irrelevant, it never matters what you wear. you deserve to be treated with respect.

So October 31st and EVERY OTHER DAY of the year, don’t slut shame. When you do, you are doing so much more than calling someone a name. You’re contributing to a broader victim blaming system that tells victims of sexual assault that it is their fault based on what they wore.

In the wise words of all mothers out there, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

If you have experienced sexual harassment or report you can contact the sexual harassment officers at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au

Bella O’Shannasy and Monique Newberry

Let’s talk about CONSENT. Listen up!

So far this semester we have heard at several on-campus events, such as Pride Week, that consent is an ambiguous concept.
So we’ve decided to insert an analogy for consent here, which will hopefully make it easier for students to understand.

Consent is like a cup of tea. If you offer someone a cup of tea, and they decline, then don’t make them tea. Don’t get annoyed or angry at them for not wanting tea, and don’t force them to drink it.

They might accept your offer for a cup of tea, but when the tea has arrived they decide they no longer want the tea. Yes, that’s a little annoying that you’ve gone to the effort to make someone the tea, but they still do not have to drink that tea.

Sometimes people change their mind in the time it takes to make a cup of tea, and that’s okay.

If someone is unconscious, then don’t make them a cup of tea. Unconscious people don’t want tea, and they can’t tell you whether or not they want tea. Trust me on this.
If someone was fully conscious when you offered them a tea, and made them the cup, but has since passed out in that time, then you should just put the tea down and make sure the unconscious person is safe. Don’t make them drink a cup of tea. They’re unconscious, they don’t want tea.

If your friend comes over to your house and said yes to a cup of tea last week, does this mean they want a cup of tea? No, they may want a cup of tea, but they also might not. Just because they previously said yes to tea, does not mean they will always want a cup of tea every time you see them.
It may seem silly to spell this out, and in fact it is. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to compare tea to sex, just so people will understand that CONSENT IS ALWAYS NECESSARY.

I hope this clears things up.

This analogy was created by Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess, and can be found on her blog: rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com

Monique Newberry