Last Tuesday the Australian Human Rights Commission released their landmark report on sexual assault and harassment at Australian universities. At The University of Sydney 31% of students surveyed reported experiencing sexual harassment at university and 2.5% were sexually assaulted in a university setting. If you are sitting in a lecture with 100 students, its likely that 7 of your peers sitting in that room will have been sexual assaulted in the past year and 50 of them will have been sexually harassed.
The prevalence of sexual assault at The University of Sydney is nothing new. For too long our university has protected perpetrators of sexual assault in order to protect their own branding and silenced survivors in the process. At the University of Sydney between 2011–2016 there were 52 formal reports of sexual misconduct and 6 formal reports of sexual assault resulting in only one expulsion.
What is clear is that our university has failed us. They have failed to provide us with a safe campus free of sexual assault. They have failed to support survivors. They have chosen silence over action.
The fight against sexual assault on our campus does not end with the release of this report.
On Wednesday your SRC marched with hundreds of students across the state today to demand an end to sexual violence on our campuses. We will not be silenced. Your SRC will continue to fight for change and won’t stop fighting until Sydney University takes action.
If you are needing support at this time you can make a free call to 1800 572 224 and speak to a 24/7 trauma specialist counsellor.