Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that is not tolerated at the University of Sydney. Sexual harassment can come in many different forms, including but not limited to non-consensual touching, jokes or comments of a sexual or inappropriate nature, staring, stalking, intrusive questions, and even pressuring someone to go out on a date (either in person or online!)
The main purpose of the Sexual Harassment Officers on campus is to work towards improving the safety of all students by creating initiatives and campaigns that create awareness about threats and acts of sexual and emotional violence, harassment, intimidation and assault. Alarmingly, 87% of Australian wom*n have experienced at least one form of physical or verbal street harassment in 2015  , a trend that has seen 9/10 wom*n change their behaviour to ensure their personal safety in the last 12 months.
This year, we will be focusing on challenging victim blaming stereotypes that are predominant in discussions around sexual harassment and assault. Our campaigns will draw attention to the way that humour and normalized assumptions are used to perpetuate harmful myths about harassment and assault. We will also focus on “informed consent” as one of our main concerns for 2016 by running a campaign about the difficulties in giving consent when impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
In the past, the Sexual Harassment Officers have primarily aligned themselves with the University’s autonomous Wom*n’s Collective, which we will continue to do in 2016. On this note, it is important to recognize that sexual harassment and violence does not only happen to those who identify as wom*n. It is a common misconception that only wom*n are affected by sexual harassment and violence, an assumption that leaves many people’s experiences unheard and delegitimized. This year, we will be running autonomous (for female identifying students) as well as non-autonomous (for everyone) workshops and campaigns to challenge normalized and dangerous myths about sexual harassment.
If you ever feel unsafe on campus, give campus security a call on 9351 3487.
RPA Sexual Assault Service – 9515 9040
National Sexual Violence and Domestic Family Violence Counselling – 1800 RESPECT
Emergency (Police, Firefighters and Ambulance Services) – 000