Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill, today expressed her ongoing support for the young women, activists and students fighting for action on the issue of sexual assault on campus, in light of the Australian Human Rights Commission report released yesterday.
In a protest on 2 August, organised by the National Union of Students and advocacy groups, students demanded action from university management on the shocking statistics laid bare in Change the Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities.
The Australian Human Rights Commission report revealed a number of horrifying figures for rates of sexual assault and harassment:
- Around half of all university students (51%) have experienced sexually harassment on at least one occasion in 2016, and 6.9% of students were sexually assaulted on at least one occasion in 2015 or 2016.
- 26% of students were sexually harassed in a university setting in 2016.
- 1.6% of students reported being sexually assaulted in a university setting in 2015 or 2016.
- Women were almost twice as likely to be sexually harassed in a university setting in 2016 and more than three times as likely to be sexually assaulted in a university setting in 2015 or 2016.
- Perpetrators were overwhelming male in 2015 and 2016. 71% of sexual harassment perpetrators were male and 83% of sexual assault perpetrators.
- Rates of sexual harassment were increased for LGBTI students, Indigenous students, students with disabilities.
Ms Haylen highlighted the importance of the work being done by groups like the National Union of Students, especially in light of recent media revelations of sexual violence, harassment and misogyny at University of Sydney colleges. These revelations forced the Minister for Education to commit to a review of the acts which govern residential colleges.
Change the Course further revealed that students who lived in accommodation affiliated or owned by a university were more likely to have been sexually assaulted or harassed than other students. And women were significantly more likely than men to have been sexually assaulted in a residential college or university residence.
Quotes attributable to Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill
“I am proud to represent in the Inner West in Parliament and the many university students who call the Summer Hill electorate home. These student communities deserve to travel safely, socialise safely and learn safely. Right now, they are being failed by university management and government.
“Decades of women have fought on this issue, and today’s protest shows the momentum of this student campaign. The release of the Australian Human Rights Commission report is a direct result of the advocacy of these women. This is their fight and their victory.
“The statistics produced in the report are horrifying, but not unexpected. Women in campuses understand this reality all too well.
“The increased rates of harassment experienced by LGBTI students, students with disabilities and Indigenous students is particularly alarming and represents another barrier in these communities accessing tertiary education.
“Now is the time for action from universities, the report must be considered carefully and responded to with compassion and in full. We need real change and real reform.”
“The Minister for Education gave a vague commitment to reviewing the acts which govern residential colleges. This report shows we can’t wait any longer and the Minister must act now. His review must consider this report, the horrifying stories contained within it and what can be done to truly change the toxic misogynistic culture of these institutions.”