Sexual Harassment and Risks of Suicide in Universities


As a person who has experienced sexual harassment as both overt and covert, in my view we do not need ZERO TOLERANCE on sexual assault and non-verbal behaviours (‘crazy making’) which are subtle and consistent. The problem with sexual harassment (overt, covert) is that it evokes perceived powerlessness given when the person asks for it to stop the other continues showing a disregard for their rights, needs and concerns.  If there is attraction between the two persons and ethically it isn’t stopped, it becomes incredibly confusing as the target will blame themselves for communication or kindness given  they may be the visible party. 

I believe what we need is compassionate understanding, sexual harassment training in both overt and covert behaviours and a university management that transforms its inactive, apathetic and negative beliefs and behaviours to proactive, responsive, honest and compassionate approaches toward both the target and the perpetrator. They need to include all people to be covered by Occupational Health and Safety not as lip service on websites but as a reality in a true duty of care for others.  Educational institutions must focus on learning rather than regressive punishment where people learn to not get caught or continue the behaviour somewhere else if they are removed.  They do not learn empathy and the impact of their behaviours which is where the real personal transformation occurs.  Universities must walk the talk on dialogue as the norm with skilled facilitators who can assist both parties in realising what true respect and harmony is about. Those who are engaging in these negative behaviours are learning it from peers, role models, social norms and given the green light from the non-response of management to reports of harassment. It has been normalised and the target either harassed, psychologically harmed or ignored as a result. This can be devastating and can potentially destroy lives as targets may want to suicide as a result of their pain and sorrow ignored.  What is not understood is that it is very hard to report as you do not feel you can cope going over the story so many times. If it is a complicated form of harassment the legislators and regulators cannot deal with it given they have certain criteria.  They do not know how to heal and repair relationships. Legal measures have a regressive impact and can push a person over the edge.

I will post my video below the article on SPEAKING UP about Bullying, Suicide and Toxic Cultures

Here is an article from the Daily Telegraph on the subject.

The Express

Data shows sexual harassment is rife in Australian universities, and crimes are going unreported

Danielle Buckley, Canterbury-Bankstown Express

LAST week, the Australian Human Rights Commission released a landmark report into sexual assault figures at Australian universities.

The national survey of 31,000 students revealed that 51 per cent were sexually harassed at least once in 2016, 25 per cent in a university setting.

At Western Sydney University, 49 per cent of 618 students surveyed experienced sexual harassment last year and 25 per cent of these occurred across the university’s 10 campuses.

Anais Carrington, 24, is a psychology student at WSU and part of the Bankstown campus Queer Collective.

Since she began her bachelor degree, Ms Carrington has been sexually harassed five times on the train to university.

Ms Carrington said students do not know the process that the university for reporting sexual assault. Picture: Melvyn Knipe

Ms Carrington said she was “sick of living in a world where that kind of behaviour is seen as respectable”, so she joined Respect. Now. Always, a student ambassador program that aims to raise awareness about sexual assault.

One aspect of the AHRC report shocked her more than anything — that 94 per cent of people did not report assaults.

“The reasons behind that were things like they don’t know where to go or don’t know the process,” Ms Carrington said.

“So it’s not that they don’t want to report it, it’s just they don’t know how.”

Alarmingly, minority groups including the LGBTI community, people who are disabled or from culturally or linguistically different backgrounds were more likely to be victims of assault.

Canterbury state Labor MP Sophie Cotsis (in the middle in red shirt and blue pants) is concerned that people from diverse backgrounds were more likely to be victims of sexual assault and harassment.

Canterbury state Labor MP and Opposition spokeswoman for women Sophie Cotsis said the results were horrifying.

“Students from non-English speaking backgrounds are 23 per cent more likely to be sexually harassed,” she said.

“We need targeted action to protect culturally and linguistically diverse students.”

WSU has formed a taskforce to implement the recommendations from the AHRC report.

Bankstown campus provost, Professor Peter Hutchings, said the issue was already on WSU’s radar, but the scale of the problem was “very disappointing”.

Mr Hutchings said the university was establishing support mechanisms as a “whole institution response”, but locally the Bankstown campus had taken additional steps to reach out to students living on site at Milperra.

Ms Carrington said it was not just a university issue, but a society issue

“Our uni is taking it very seriously,” she said. “While it does look bleak there is a lot of good work going on.”




Universities Australia calls for ‘zero tolerance’ on sexual assault5:35

Universities Australia calls for ‘zero tolerance’ on sexual assaults on campuses. Professor Barney Glover, Professor S Bruce Dowton, Professor Ian Jacobs and Ms Elizabeth Broderick AO break down their new campaign. Courtesy: Universities Australia/Vimeo

  • August 1st 2017
  • 10 days ago
  • /display/ News/National/

Universities Australia calls for ‘zero tolerance’ on sexual assault


■ 25 per cent of WSU students reported that they experienced some form of sexual harassment in a university setting

■ 94 per cent of those who had experienced sexual harassment did not raise a formal report or complaint with the university

■ 92 per cent did not seek support from the university, citing reasons including not being clear on how to do so.

■ 26 per cent witnessed sexual harassment at university

■ 19 per cent of assaults happened on public transport to university


Video on Bullying, Suicide and Toxic Cultures


Mohandas Gandhi

“My life is my message.”