A quarter of uni boys think their unis are doing *too much* to tackle misogyny on campus


Over a quarter of male university students think their unis are doing too much to tackle misogyny on campus, whilst one third of female students think their unis are not doing enough.

Just 17 per cent of female students thought their unis were doing too much to tackle misogyny – considerably lower than 26 per cent of boys. And just 18 per cent of male students think their unis aren’t doing enough, compared to 33 per cent of female students.

New research of 1,600 students by Sophia Smith Galer, VICE journalist and author of sex education book Losing It, and Savanta has found the scale of poor sex education amongst university students.

In 2020, The Tab found that only five major UK unis offer compulsory consent classes. In that same year, a BBC investigation found that nearly a third of UK universities had used NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) to stop students going public with complaints such as sexual assault and bullying. One student even said she faced expulsion if she “made a fuss” after reporting an alleged sexual assault by another student.

Last year, universities pledged to end the use of NDAs against students who come forward to report sexual misconduct, bullying, and harassment. You can find a full list of the unis who have signed up to this on the Can’t Buy My Silence website – but less than two thirds (58 per cent) of English unis have signed up to it, according to the group.

The research by Sophia Smith Galer and Savanta also found almost four in 10 (38 per cent) of students say that uni hasn’t filled the gaps in their sex education that have been left by their schools.

Over a quarter of young people had experienced sexual harassment or abuse online, and only half of female students know how to report this online – compared to almost three quarters of uni boys, despite women being more likely be a victim of it.

Labour MP Sarah Champion said: “Children should be taught the fundamentals of relationship and sex education long before they reach university, especially now that it is compulsory in all schools. However, teachers are not being provided with the training or resources necessary to effectively teach sex education and it is putting young people at risk. The Government agreed to my amendment on mandatory relationship and sex education in 2017, so why on earth has it still not been sufficiently rolled out?”

Sophia Smith Galer said: “As schools did the best they could to keep educating young people [through the pandemic], this survey shows that not only did their parents not pick up the slack and teach them about what they should have – many universities have not done much to help fill in gaps for students left by lacklustre school lessons as they embark on their first sexual experiences and encounter the good, bad and the ugly of sexual maturity. They’re a lost generation caught between several lost opportunities for good sex education.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story contact Refuge on their free 24/7 helpline 0808 2000 247 or contact Rape Crisis online for a free confidential chat helpline.

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Featured image via Jonas Leupe/Unsplash