‘A third of young women have been groped,’ finds NUS study

first_imgAccording to National Union of Students (NUS) data 37% of women and 12% of men say they have faced unwelcome sexual advances, in the form of inappropriate groping and touching.NUS asked over 2,000 male and female students about the issue. The study also looked into ‘lad culture,’ which it defined as “behaviours and attitudes that … belittle, dismiss, joke about or even seem to condone rape and sexual assault.” Two thirds of the respondents were found to have witnessed jokes about rape and sexual assault.NUS president Toni Pearce stated, “These stats show that harassment is rife on campus, but we still keep hearing from universities that there is no fear, no intimidation, no problem – well this new research says otherwise.”Meanwhile Laura Bates, of the Everyday Sexism campaign, commented, “Students are experiencing sexism, sexual harassment and assault within the university environment. It is worth mentioning that one category of such experiences ‘inappropriate touching and groping’ actually constitutes sexual assault under UK law. Though many students would not label it as such, this normalisation and lack of awareness is a major part of the problem.”A lack of awareness of the issue is further highlighted by the fact that 60% of students said they were unaware of any codes of conduct at their university or student union, indicating a lack of knowledge about reporting procedures.The NUS survey comes only a week after a different study showed that a quarter of young women on a drunken night out had experienced sexual abuse or inappropriate comments. The research was conducted by the charity Drinkaware and had 700 respondents.When asked about the extent of sexual harassment at Oxford, OUSU Vice President for Women Anna Bradshaw told Cherwell, “While we do not have any Oxford-specific research, anecdotal evidence collected by OUSU’s It Happens Here campaign suggests that many Oxford students have experiences that absolutely reflect these findings.”Referring to a project planned for this academic year, she added, “The OUSU Sexual Consent Workshops will be compulsory in a third of all common rooms, including over half of JCRs.  These workshops will provide a safe space in which to start community-wide conversations about sexual consent, moving Oxford University towards a culture of enthusiastic and informed consent.”last_img read more