University Of Sydney Students Call Protest Over Widespread Sexual Assaults

Students at the University of Sydney‘s Women’s Collective have called a snap protest for today in response to the damning culture of hazing, misogyny and assault exposed in the End Rape On Campus Australia‘s Red Zone report.

Earlier this week, The Red Zone shined a light onto the sickening culture of hazing rituals – including a practise where male students would masturbate into the bottles of shower products left in common areas by their female peers – of the University of Sydney’s most elite colleges.

It also put into context the high number of sexual assaults and rapes that occur in Australian universities, and either the unwillingness or powerlessness of the universities to do something concrete about it.

Since the report was released on Monday, EROC Australia has been “inundated” with more than 100 disclosures of sexual assault, sexual harassment or hazing from students around the country, says lead author Nina Funnell.

“We are gradually sifting through the dozens of accounts of hazing and assault,” she said. “The sheer volume of emails from both men and women regarding hazing at colleges including [University of Sydney Colleges] St. John’s, Sancta Sophia, St. Andrew’s, Wesley and St. Paul’s, as well as various colleges in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria are disturbing and point to a national crisis.”

She said that university student presidents from around the country have responded to the report with their support.

Now, the Women’s Collective at Sydney Uni – led by women’s officers Jessica Syed and Madeline Ward – are hosting a snap protest at the university grounds today.

“The results, as expected, are horrifying,” reads the Facebook event. “Apart from the recounts of hazardous hazing, animal cruelty and racism, the statistics pertaining to sexual assault are sickening.”

One in eight sexual assaults occur during O-Week, according to the report, and approximately 68 college students will be raped or sexually assaulted in a university setting across the country each week.

“This is appalling. The University of Sydney Woman’s Collective will continue to fight the institutional cover-up of the endemic misogyny and entitlement that reeks from the college structure.”

The protest will take place at 1pm today.

If you or someone you know is dealing with issues around sexual assault, you can call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732, or the Kids Helpline (ages 5 to 25) on 1800 55 1800. If you are in distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.