Friday 20 October 2017

16pc of students are sexually harassed

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

AS many as 16pc of students have suffered an unwanted sexual experience at college or university, a study found.

One in 10 women and 5pc of men also reported being the victim of obsessive behaviour that made them afraid or concerned for their safety while studying.

In the first study of its kind, students' experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault were uncovered by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

Laura Harmon, USI vice-president for equality and citizenship, said she hoped the results of the 'Say Something' study would inform national campaigns in the future and raise awareness of supports available.

"The victim is never to blame," she said. "USI hopes this study will help open up dialogue around these issues among the student body."

The study was the first of its kind and scale in Ireland with 2,750 students – of mixed gender and sexuality – responding between January 10 and February 15 this year.

It found:

* Sixteen per cent experienced some form of unwanted sexual experience at their current third level institution, with the figure rising to one in five for women.

* Just 3pc of those reported it to gardai.

* Acquaintances were identified as the perpetrators by most victims.

* Eleven per cent of women were victims of unwanted sexual contact, and three out of 10 experienced comments with a sexual overtone that made them feel uncomfortable.

* More than 10pc of men and 8pc of women have had photographs or videos circulated online without their consent.

* Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students accounted for just 14.72pc of respondents, but were more likely to have been the victims of physical violence, obsessive behaviour, or unwanted sexual experiences.

USI will launch 'Say Something' at Trinity College later.

Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop, of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said: "From the 'Say Something' research it is evident there is still a big gap in how we educate young people about sex, relationships and responsible use of alcohol."

Irish Independent

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