We asked Durham students whether they think sexual assault is an issue on campus
Your views were suprisingly varied
Recently, we reported that Durham has had the largest number of recorded rape and sexual assault allegations in the last two years.
According to The Sun, 48% of female undergrads claim to have been sexually assaulted. The University’s initial response was an email addressing the issue and assuring students that “the University, along with your colleges, Students’ Union, Experience Durham, staff and external partners, is continuing to take steps to tackle this issue.”
We asked for your views on the matter, and were surprised at the number of students who did express that they think sexual assault is a major issue in Durham, but did not want to be named.
Marta, Geography, St Aidan’s, 1st Year.
“I personally wouldn’t say there is an issue when it comes to sexual assault in Durham. I don’t know anyone who has been sexually assaulted and I haven’t witnessed anything. I’ve heard of a high profile case recently about a Durham Student, maybe that’s why we have a reputation for it.”
Charlie, English Literature, Trevs, 2nd Year.
“I disagree that Durham is exceptionally bad in terms of assault. We have a very good pastoral support network which probably means more cases are reported, thus explaining the figures. However, this does not mean there isn’t a problem.
“Even if one person gets groped at a club it’s a problem, the fact that it is happening to thousands of people is very serious and needs to change. The DSU have put an educational module on DUO that is being almost entirely ignored, so no, they are not doing enough.
“Realistically, there’s only so much preaching that can be done. I think what needs to happen now is a crack down on punishments and an emphasis on reporting any cases of sexual assault.”
Charlotte and Emily, Psychology, Hild Bede, 2nd Year.
“I’m not aware that sexual assault is a big problem at Durham, and I am surprised that we are voted the worst because I have no personal experience of it and neither do my friends.
“I think maybe one of the reasons behind the stats is that the media love to attack Oxbridge and Durham because they’re seen as being very elitist and prestigious universities full of students from a very similar background.”
Jo, Languages, Trevs, 1st Year.
“I was in the Sun article which argued that there is a drinking problem at Durham which is one of the biggest reasons behind sexual assault at Durham. I told the Sun I’m a member of CU and that we often stand outside clubs offering drunk people water and biscuits and help them home if we need to.
“I don’t actually think sexual assault is a problem at Durham. Obviously, it happens and that’s awful. But, I don’t agree that it happens more at Durham than at other universities.”