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A Birmingham Student Is Trying To Make Her University Class Rape As An 'Extenuating Circumstance'

30/11/2015 13:21 GMT | Updated 30/11/2015 14:59 GMT

A student from Birmingham is trying to make her university class rape as "extenuating circumstances", in the wake of research which revealed nearly half of students at the institution had been sexually assaulted.

The student, who has remained anonymous, started a petition on Change.org which has already been signed nearly 1,900 times.

"As a student, have you ever considered what you would do if you were raped or sexually assaulted during your time at university?," the petition asks. "Will you receive the correct type and amount of emotional and academic support? You assume that the answer would be yes, of course you would. However, unfortunately at the majority of universities, the answer is not black and white."

As with other UK universities, Birmingham has a code of practice for extenuating circumstances (EC), which includes: significant accident, illness or injury; death or serious illness of a close family member or dependent or jury service.

However, the majority of universities don't include sexual assault or rape under EC.

"Can you see where rape or sexual assault fits into this list?," the author of the petition continues. "Because I can't.

"Sexual assault and rape has devastating immediate and long-term effects which could include:

"Relaying the incident to the police and seeking legal advice - a lengthy process which requires the sufferer to re-live the event countless times; confiding in a medical professional, testing for the possibility of pregnancy and disease; depression; guilt and self blame; suicide.

"At present, there is no official clause in The Code of Practice overtly stating that academic support will be given to survivors of rape and sexual assault, who are dealing with the effects alongside their studies. This needs to change."

The student is calling for a clearly worded clause to ensure students' academic performances don't suffer while they are dealing with their experiences.

The student cites a survey taken by Birmingham University students, which revealed 44% of respondents had been sexually assaulted, while 12% said they had been raped.

"The university needs to acknowledge that rape and sexual assault is unfortunately a more common problem than we realise, which impacts the welfare and academic performance of thousands of students each year."