SHOCKING revelations of widespread sexual harassment and sexual assaults at university campuses have come as little surprise to uni students at Bathurst.
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A national Human Rights Commission survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities revealed 18 per cent of the 803 Charles Sturt University survey participants had been sexually harassed at university and 3.3 per cent had been sexually assaulted at university in 2015/2016.
CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said on Monday this behaviour was unacceptable and the university will be redoubling its efforts to reduce these numbers through a broad range of initiatives.
For CSU students Brittany Myers, Sophie Fitzgerald, Emma Van Veen, Dominic Masson and Cassie Miller, the results of the survey were not surprising, though they welcomed the university’s response to try to initiate change.
Ms Myers, who lives on campus, said after attending late night lectures she is worried walking through the campus alone.
“You hear things from a friend of a friend who had something happen, so it [the fear something could happen] is in your subconscious.”
She said she walked home alone a couple of times, until her RA [residential advisor] “went off” and told her not to do that again.
When it comes to sexual harassment, Ms Van Veen said, sadly, it’s almost normalised, and thought a strong culture of drinking among students could be a factor.
But Ms Van Veen and her fellow students agreed that friends usually support each other and step in if they see something that is making someone else uncomfortable.
Ms Fitzgerald, also studying at CSU, said she believed issues were previously swept under the carpet, but the university, and in particular Isabel Fox, from Residential Life, was creating awareness and change.
Professor Vann said on Monday the survey provided valuable information for the university to act on immediately.
"The survey and its findings are critical to raising the profile of the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities," Professor Vann said.
Professor Vann said Charles Sturt University will be adopting all the Human Rights Commission's recommendations.
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