28 per cent of Sussex students have witnessed sexual harassment

New measures are being implemented to encourage the safety of students

New research published by the Students’ Union has indicated that over 34 per cent of students have witnessed drinks being spiked and 28 per cent have seen someone being sexually assaulted.

As part of the Nighttime Safety Report, recent statistics revealed a shockingly normalised perception of part of a standard night out, with Grainne Gahan, the USSU Welfare Officer stating: “Sexual violence in the nighttime economy is the active perpetuation and reinforcement of sexism and other oppressions

“Student’s shouldn’t tolerate it, or treat it as a fact of life. That’s why we’re proposing the Nighttime Safety Charter.”

The Students’ Union is seeking to encourage the local community and nightlife venues to emphasise safety on nights out and encourage a zero tolerance policy to sexual violence or harassment.

Despite research from the SU indicating that 86 per cent of students feel either “very or fairly safe” whilst ritually enjoying the nightlife that Brighton has to offer, 52 per cent of us consider the levels of sexual harassment to be fairly high, with just over half of students consider themselves at risk of sexual harassment.

West Street and the Seafront were highlighted as areas in which safety was most threatened.

As an 18 year old female fresher, I am part of the demographic most susceptible to sexual violence and harassment on a night out; and in my short time at Sussex I was spiked after being given a drink which I didn’t keep a proper eye on. Luckily it was on campus and I hastily retreated back to my halls after realising and just slept it off. Regardless of my own experience where luckily I remained safe, I still see it as highly worrying statistic that I managed to get spiked within my first month at Sussex.

The SU is proposing a Nighttime Safety Charter as a result of these findings. Measures are being introduced to ensure optimum safety for students and members of the community, including implementing the Good Night Out East Sussex scheme and training members of the community to help deal with the problem of sexual harassment on nights out.

Gahan added: “It’s our hope that by taking these small steps together we can produce a better, safer night out for everyone.”