YOUNG VOICES

Universities Slammed For Ignoring Sexual Harassment As 1 In 4 Students Subjected To Unwelcome Sexual Advances

16/09/2014 16:15 BST | Updated 17/09/2014 18:59 BST
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One in four students has been subjected to unwanted sexual advances, while two thirds have seen others put up with unwelcome sexual comments, research has revealed.

More than a third of female students have faced inappropriate touching and groping, according to figures released by the National Union of Students.

Three quarters of students are aware of online communities such as ‘Unilad’ and ‘Lad Bible’ with 63% of women agreeing the sites contribute to an unfair representation of females.

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The statistics prompted NUS president Toni Pearce to slam universities for "passing the buck", saying the approach was "completely unacceptable".

"They must acknowledge the problems and join us in confronting them. These stats show harassment is rife on campus, but still we keep hearing from universities there is no fear, no intimidation, no problem - well this new research says otherwise.

"Sadly all of these elements exist in campus life."

Of the survey respondents, 60% said they were not aware of any codes of conduct implemented by their university or students’ unions that prohibit or tackle sexual conversations, sexual comments, unwelcome sexual advances, group intimidation and verbal harassment.

Laura Bates, founder of Everyday Sexism, added: "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."