National Union of Students (NUS) Women’s Department Campaign Outline: ‘Support student safety, stop the war on women.’

Prepared By: Heidi La Paglia, NUS Women’s Officer

 

Throughout the second half of 2016, the NUS Women’s Department will be running a campaign called ‘SUPPORT STUDENT SAFETY, STOP THE WAR ON WOMEN,’ which aims to increase support for the safety of students at university, and tackle the high rates of violence and sexual assault against women students

 

The Problem

In 2015, the NUS Women’s Department ran the Talk About It survey, which found that over 72% of women at university experience some form of sexual harassment, assault or violence while studying, over 14% saying that they had experienced rape or attempted rape, and over 15% saying that they been physically hurt by another individual.

In the survey, students were also asked whether they reported the incident, and the majority said that they didn’t because they did not know about it, or because they didn’t think it was worth it; and perhaps even more alarmingly, three quarters of those that did report the incident to their university or to the police, said that little or nothing was done about it.

“I was ignored, told I was simply drunk and it wasn't worth investigating” (University of NSW, 20 year old)

While these statistics paint a pretty stark picture of women’s experiences in Higher Education, they do highlight some tangible ways that support for women students can be improved at university, and the ‘Talk About It’ report highlights many of these as recommendations for universities in its final pages.

In order to see these changes implemented, the NUS has been working with a range of stakeholders to support screenings of the documentary The Hunting Ground to raise awareness of sexual assault on campus, as well as working with a number of other stakeholders including the Australian Human Rights Comission (AHRC) and Universities Australia (UA) to roll out the Australian Human Rights Centre (AHRCentre) project, which includes a second semester national survey offering students an opportunity to shape a university best practice guide for how best to support the safety of students on campus.

However, while some universities have been supportive of the NUS, The Hunting Ground Australia Project and the AHRCentre project; many are still denying the high prevalence of sexual assault on campus, and the importance of improving support for the safety of students.

 

The Solution

In order to ramp up the pressure on universities to take the issue of sexual violence and assault at universities seriously, and force them to start taking steps to support student safety, the NUS Women’s Department is running a campaign aiming to:

 

   1. Raise awareness of the high prevalence of sexual harassment, assault and violence at universities

   2.         Empower students (particularly those who are survivors) to have their voices heard

            and

   3.         Encourage universities to roll out the national sexual assault survey without delay, and to implement the following:

 

            -adequate lighting, 24/7 security, and safe spaces for women

            -stand alone zero tolerance policies on sexual harassment, assault and violence, with
           
clear repercussions for perpetrators

            -accessible and clear reporting processes, with effective remedies for survivors

            -sexual assault counsellors on every campus

            -mandatory consent training for all staff and students

 

 

Resources

The campaign utilises materials which use the statistics from the talk about it report to raise awareness of the high prevalence of violence and sexual assault at universities, and ask for universities to take action.Resources include

            -posters (1 x poster with campaign demands and 1 x poster with rally details)

            -flyer (x3)

            -Facebook graphics (profile picture and cover photo)

            -petitions

            -boards for a social media campaign (double sided - or two separate - photo          
           
boards )

            -campaign roll out guide

            -template letter for VCs

 

Download all of the campaign materials HERE

 

Campaign based on following petition wording:

 

Despite the fact that over 72% of women experience some form of harassment, sexual assault or violence, universities support services are not up to standard. Sign the petition demanding that universities implement zero tolerance policies to sexual violence, roll out the national sexual assault survey without delay, and increase support for survivors of violence on campus.’

 

 

Timeline

           

            June 13th: Campaign Launch

            June 13th - July 16th - Petition signing / building support for campaign /

            Building the July 16th rally (stalls, social media posts, banner making sessions)

            16th July (Last day of the Network of Women Students Australia Conference):
            PROTEST Sydney, and online

            July - September (second semester o’weeks etc): campus stalls, photo petitions, campus
            awareness

            October - December: Evaluation

 

Take Action

 

i.       Like the campaign Facebook page: facebook.com/SUPPORTSTUDENTAFETYSTOPTHEWARONWOMEN , and @NUSwomens twitter account

ii.     Sign the petition to SUPPORT STUDENT SAFETY, STOP THE WAR ON WOMEN at:https://www.megaphone.org.au/petitions/support-studet-safety-stop-the-war-on-women/

iii.   Hold a stalls to build support for the campaign, and encourage people to attend the protest on the 16th of July in Sydney, or post a photo of themselves on the same day with the photo petition and hashtags to show solidarity with the movement

iv.   Take Action on July 16 (Either by attending the action in person in Sydney, or by uploading a photo of yourself holding the sign saying ‘SUPPORT STUDENT SAFETY, STOP THE WAR ON WOMEN,’ and changing your fb cover photo)

v.     Send a few sentences about why supporting student safety is important to you along with a photo of yourself to womens@nus.asn.au

Use the campaign hashtags  #supportstudentsafety #stopthewaronwomen @NUSwomens @thehuntinground @uniaus