Kimberly Dibben, Ruby Lotz, Courtney Daley, Kira Xu
Week 2, Semester 1, 2020
Unfortunately, we have had a busy start to the semester as Sexual Harassment OBs, as the issue is most pertinent during Welcome Week. This is made clear when looking back at the Red Zone Report (2018) into sexual violence on campus (of which our following findings are sourced). It is during this week in which 1 in 8 incidents of sexual violence on campus occur, and on campus caseworkers and other support staff see a peak in survivors. Alongside welcoming celebrations, misogynistic and dangerous hazing rituals occur within the USYD colleges, as well as predatory ‘fresher fishing’ by older college students wherein first year (most often 18 year old) female students are rated online, group stalked, and invited to secret sex parties. 68 college students are sexually assaulted in Welcome Week across Australia, and this predatory behaviour is to blame. Students deserve to be free from the threat of sexual violence, and perpetrators must be held accoutable.
As advocates for survivors, we joined the Women’s Collective in a rally to shine a light on the pertinence of sexual assault during Welcome Week. On the first day of Welcome Week, members marched through the hefty midday crowds in graduation caps and gowns that read statistics from the Red Zone Report, representing the shameful truth of sexual assault on campus lying under USYD’s seemingly pristine reputation. “Break the silence on sexual violence” and a further history of the shameful sexual assault crisis stemming from toxic college culture echoed through the stalls and in front of the Great Hall, turning heads and drawing attention to the crisis that the university would rather new students not know.
In this action and all of our work this year, we support survivors and fight for their justice.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact support through the following services:
USyd Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Call: 1300 474 065 Text: 0488 884 429 Visit: Level 5 Jane Foss Russell Building G02 (Available 9am-5pm Monday-Friday)
NSW Rape Crisis Hotline: 1800 424 017 (available 24/7)
Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia: rape-dvservices.org.au
RPA Sexual Assault Clinic Call: 9515 9040 Visit:16 Marsden St, Camperdown