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Summary results from Students' Union sexual violence survey

Trigger warning: sexual harassment, sexual violence and rape.

 

 

Today is the final day of the United Nation’s 16 days of action against gender based violence.

This morning, full-time Students’ Union staff were trained in the sexual violence care pathway for students, meaning that our staff will be equipped to adequately deal with instances of sexual assault disclosed to them by students.

Our outlet supervisors, part-time administrative staff and part-time and representative officers will be receiving training next Tuesday.

During October, 340 current Sussex students answered a survey on their experiences of sexual violence on campus.

Sexual violence and harassment on campuses is a national issue: the Hidden Marks Survey carried out by the National Union of Students (NUS) between 2009 and 2010 revealed that 68% of students have experienced some kind of verbal or non-verbal harassment in and around their institution.

Our survey revealed similar results and shows that that we still have a very long way to go in educating our students about consent and healthy relationships, and ensuring that the University takes the matter seriously.

The full report will be released at the beginning of next term but these are some of the main findings of the survey:

  • 51% of all respondents said that they sometimes feel unsafe when visiting the University in the evening. When the responses were filtered by gender, 60% of female respondents stated that that they sometimes feel unsafe on campus in the evening, compared with 16% of male respondents.
     
  • 61% of all respondents stated that they had experienced sexual harassment (which could include unwanted comments with a sexual overtone, catcalling, wolf whistling, groping, and sexual contact without consent); over half of these respondents had experienced this more than twice.
     
  • Over 50% of all respondents had experienced non-consensual sexual contact (which could include kissing, touching or molesting, including through clothes).
     
  • 55% of all respondents stated they had experienced someone attempting to touch them sexually without their consent. 69% of female respondents had experienced this, compared with 25% of male respondents. 92% of LGBT respondents had experienced someone attempting to touch them sexually without consent, compared with 51% of non-LGBT respondents.
     
  • 90.7% of respondents who had experienced non-consensual sexual contact stated that the offender was male.
     
  • 76% of respondents who had experienced non-consensual contact said that they did not know the offender.
     
  • The vast majority of respondents reported that their incidents took place in a nightclub.
     
  • 10% of respondents reported that they had experienced assault by penetration (orally, vaginally or anally, with genitalia, fingers or an object) without their consent.
     
  • 97% of all respondents did not report incidents of sexual harassment and non-consensual sexual contact. When asked why they did not report the incident, the majority of respondents didn’t think the incident was serious enough to report.
     
  • When filtering the responses by gender, 25% of male respondents didn’t report the incident because they felt ashamed or embarrassed, compared with 15% of female respondents. Furthermore, 11% of female respondents didn’t report the incident because they didn’t think they would be believed, whereas no male respondents stated this as reason.
     
  • When filtering the responses by sexuality, 19% of LGBT respondents did not report the incident because they thought that they would not be believed, compared with 8% of non-LGBT respondents.

If you require support in relation to sexual assault that you have experienced, you can contact Survivors’ Network or speak to a Student Life Advisor in the Student Life Centre on campus, as well as accessing the University’s counselling service.

The Student Life Centre has information online to help explain the options available for students who have experienced sexual assault as well as other sources of help and support.

 

Contact us

Got a comment/criticism about anything discussed in this article? Let us know on our social media channels!

facebook.com/thestudentsunion

twitter.com/ussu

instagram.com/sussexsu

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