Federal

Mar 24, 2011

Sexual assault, harassment plague female university students

A recent survey by the National Union of Students has found that one in 10 female students have experienced sexual violence at an Australian university, writes Elle Mackintosh, a third-year journalism-law student.

A recent survey by the National Union of Students has found that one in 10 female students have experienced sexual violence at an Australian university. Fifteen hundred women participated in the survey that revealed more than a third of them reported having been sexually harassed at university. These startling preliminary figures highlight what Chrystina Stanford, executive officer of the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, calls a crime unlike any other.

47 comments

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47 thoughts on “Sexual assault, harassment plague female university students

  1. Phen

    Surely the analogy on “rock spidering” is an urban myth?

  2. drsmithy

    Another story recounted by Toor, who was more recently women’s officer at a separate ANU College (Uni Lodge), involved a practice known as “rock-spidering”. This appalling “game” sees male students knocking on women resident’s doors during orientation week. If the girl answers the door, it is considered consent. This practice has allegedly resulted in numerous sexual assaults — many of which have gone unreported — and the Canberra R-pe Crisis Centre has confirmed that it is aware of this activity in the college.

    This reeks of urban myth. Right up there with “rainbow parties”.

    Any other sources for this anecdote ?

  3. ach!_ze_chermans!

    It stinks to high heaven of myth. A ‘story’ that ‘allegedly’ happened.. for God’s sake, if this mass-r-pe is happening every year, or even if it happened only once, surely they would’ve brought in the riot-police by now; we’re not a Third-World country where this kind of thing can be swept under the carpet. To make this kind of fantastic statement without providing any kind of proof or legitimate source is damaging to the groups and individuals making these assertions, and Crikey for reporting it as fact.

    Guys, I didn’t subscribe to F-xnews.com.

  4. Daniel

    Inebriated male students sexually assaulting female students? What a myth.

  5. ach!_ze_chermans!

    Danile: I’d certainly never assert that such assaults don’t happen, and even a cursory glance at DrSmithy’s comment doesn’t come across as that either; it’s the ‘story’ of ‘rock-spidering’ that doesn’t hold water.

    Might need to read the comments all the way through next time, eh?

  6. Mel Campbell

    To be fair, Mackintosh goes on to write: “the Canberra R-pe Crisis Centre has confirmed that it is aware of this activity in the college.”

    This article is about how women don’t feel safe on campus, and I think it’s pretty sad that the only response to it so far has been to denigrate the writer’s research and Crikey’s editorial judgement.

    The same article includes statistics such as:

    – one in ten female students have experienced sexual violence at an Australian university
    – UCanberra and ANU had the highest and second highest combined number of sexual assaults and indecent acts reported to the Australian Federal police between 2005-2010

    Are these rumours or urban myths as well?

  7. Phen

    Mel: I think the difference is that the other statistics and info (as completely unacceptable as they are) sound credible, while the “rock-spidering” thing defies belief imho and hence I think is worth questioning further. I sincerely hope its not true.

  8. ach!_ze_chermans!

    Mel: again, please read the comment. It’s clearly stated, in Standard English, that the only part that I find fault in is the (currently) unsubstantiated story of ‘rock spidering’.

    The other information contained in the story is no doubt backed by quantifiable research and police reports. Personally I find the 1 in 10 statistic a reprehensible state of affairs, and support and encourage any female who has been involved in such a situation to speak to the Police, Dean, Student Representatives, and R-pe Crisis Centre, so that more can be done to combat this misogynistic and frankly disgusting behavior by what is no doubt a minority within the student population.

    What I am against is the use of (currently) unsubstantiated ‘stories’ used in an article about such serious subject matter; if proven false it allows people to write off the entire story as containing fabrications, which would be a major disservice to victims already dealing with the consequences of this predatory behavior.

  9. Daniel

    ‘rock-spidering’ may not be widespread or common – but the Canberra R-pe Crisis Centre has confirmed that it is aware that it exists, which firmly places it in the sphere of reality in my opinion.

  10. Tom McLoughlin

    I notice University of Canberra, previously CCAE, is traditional competitor to ANU.

    What does the author say about safety at UC? Or the redneck underbelly of Canberra’s RARA crowd – which is definitely there in a surreal twist for the national capital.

    Or the facebook generation of web p*rn consumers at universities nationally, and generally?

    How many assaults are by non students of students?

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