Two thirds of Sussex students have experienced unwanted sexual advances at uni

85 per cent of Sussex students know someone who has experienced unwanted sexual advances

At the beginning of term, The Sussex Tab launched an anonymous sexual assault survey. The purpose of the survey was to catalogue experiences of sexual assault throughout the University of Sussex. The survey received hundreds of responses from students which spoke about experiences throughout Brighton and the University campus.

The statistics revealed in the sexual assault survey show an increase from the one in four statistic from the 2016 survey which went viral months ago.

85 per cent of Sussex students know someone who has experienced unwanted sexual advances

The response we received showed that 85 per cent said they knew someone who had experienced sexual assault or harassment in some form. This left 14 per cent stating that they had experienced it themselves.

67 per cent of Sussex students have experienced unwanted sexual advances

This response showed that 67.9 per cent of Sussex students had experienced an unwanted sexual advance or harassment. The 32.1 per cent remaining stated that they had not experienced unwanted sexual advances whilst at the University.

54 per cent of Sussex students stated that they’ve experienced some form of ‘grey area’ harassment

Over half of the students who took part in the survey felt that their experience could not be fully classed as sexual harassment or assault. With 45.3 per cent stating they had not experienced grey-area harassment itself. These experiences range from unwanted advances in clubs, catcalling and being coerced into having sex. The results show many incidences that have described the involvement of alcohol, being drunk and being in clubs.

67 per cent of Sussex students are not aware of the services offered by the University to survivors

The majority of responses reveal most students were not even aware of the student service option for support. 33 per cent revealed that they were aware of the services offered by the University.

Where do we go from here?

A spokesperson from The University of Sussex exclusively spoke to The Sussex Tab, they stated: “It is extremely important to us that students speak out about sexual misconduct and we strongly encourage them to do so. We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for students, staff and visitors. Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated and we will take action to ensure the safety of everyone in our community.

“Students can get support on campus even if it is in the middle of the night and even if they do not wish the Police to get involved – click on the ‘Help’ button on the Sussex Mobile app, go to the Student Hub or call 3333 from any campus phone.

“We will always take seriously any report made by a student and will support them through the process. Our staff work with charities such as Survivors’ Network, RISE and Veritas Justice on how to respond to such disclosures and keep students safe.  We pay these organisations to provide disclosure training for all staff and they also provide sessions of trauma training.

“All students are provided with the necessary support and information to enable them to make informed choices about where and how to report if they wish to do so, and they are also signposted to welfare support services both internal and external to the University.

“The University has a Policy on Definitions of Violence, which provides definitions of different types of violence. In conjunction with this, the University has a Statement on Violence which brings together in one place all of the University’s policies and guidance in relation to the prevention and management of violence. Our policies make clear that we will not tolerate violence or inappropriate behaviour in any part of our University community, and to ensure that students and staff feel fully supported when such situations arise.”

They continued: “We currently offer an online relationships/consent course to all students and have good participation. We also host workshops in healthy relationships, available to all students and conducted by experienced trainers in this area who are also postgraduate students in areas such as Gender Studies.

“We have also improved our report and support systems by purchasing the Culture Shift framework which offers a real-time reporting platform to identify and prevent harassment and bullying. This includes the ability for students to report racial harassment, sexual violence or domestic violence both anonymously and using their name enabling us to take action under our discipline regulation with the reporting student’s consent to do so.”