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The Weekly Cheek
The Weekly Cheek

Episode · 7 months ago

68. Are universities doing enough to prevent assault?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we talk about the recently released report on sexual assault and harassment in universities, which institutions are the worst ranking, and our time at uni.

Find us online at cheekmedia.com.au and on socials @cheekmediaco

Hello, I'm Christ and Parison Otto and I'm hard a focus and where co founders at Cheek mediac this is the weekly Cheek podcast. Before we start this podcast, I would like to acknowledge that we are on stall on lands of the Yagora and terrible people here in me engine and I would like to an acknowledge their elders, past, present and imagining. Welcome back to the weekly cheek. Welcome. Today we are doing an episode. It was actually suggested by one of our listeners who we know, but I'm not going to say who because I didn't get that consent. Cool, I just thought this is our idea. Oh, she's not a plagiarism. So a report came out in at the like in the last week of much, I just for the last week of March. Thing was the twenty three of much, about sexual assault on university campuses. So obviously content warning. This podcast will be talking about sexual assault. Not any details, but we will be talking about it. We're to start wor to begin. So basically it was it's called the National Student Safety Survey and it was put out in u knees, and I mean anything with starts. I'm kind of like, well, how many people did you ask? So it's a bit you know, it's as good as you can get really, but it tooks. It asked students if they had been assaulted and or harassed, like why that UNI or like yeah, on campus, at events, things like that. I don't think that anyone will be very surprised to know that a lot of people said that they had been assaulted and even more had said that they had been harassed while at Uni. All Right, so prevalence of sexual assault, the in terms of it's all broken down based on each university they surveyed and the highest rank was thirteen point two percent of students had said that they had been assaulted since going to university.

That's the highest percentage. And then, in terms of harassment, twenty six point one percent. And there is the place I want to start, which might be a bit controversial but I don't care, is the UNIS that were ranked as the worst for sexual assault, like the people, the UNIS that had the greatest numbers of disclosures, I guess, and the two on the top are Bond University and Australian National University, or Anu, and then obviously like the UQ. So so we both went to. University of Queensland was pretty high on the list, University of Melbourne, Monash, mcquarie, all of them, all the big hitters, all the big hitters. And the thing that I kind of like an even like I'm scrolling down the list now, this is prevalence of sexual assault on university. Thirteen point two percent a and you twelve point three percent through the third bird ranking, James Cook University, nine point five percent. So that's a decent jump and then it kind of goes down from there. Yeah, and it does go down at a bit of a sharper, like a sharp decline when you get into like the less, you know, elite in quotes, university institutions exactly. And like again, having been someone who went to Uq, I didn't experience much of it because the way I went to uni was very much like I started uni after most of my friends and I didn't really get super involved in unique culture, like I didn't live on campus. I hung out with my friends who were like second or thirty is by then when I was a first year. It was a little bit different to, you know, the college experience which Hannah has unfortunately had. I actually loved my college experience, but a lot of fucked up things happened, yeah, which is going to talk about soon, but the elite universities being at the top of that list. Yeah, to me, when I saw that, I was like, well,...

...where do the where do the fucking perpetrators, or alleged perpetrators, go after they've been to those UNIS? They go to fucking into government. and to see your positions like that's to me the biggest thing that stood out when I was reading these numbers is that it's the most elite Unis where things appear to be the worst statistically speaking. So that's not good. Something that I haven't thinking about since we decided to do this topic is that I was looking at, I think it was one of Schnell contost as stories recently where and it triggered me because I knew this was the talk that I was given in school and I talked a bit about this. One of the most pivotal talks I went to while I was at school in your town, I've said this before, was we did this one day course, so problematic. Girls did one full day with this speaker who was an ex police officer. His name is Brent Sanders and he has a podcast called consent and consequences. And the next day the boys did a half day and we joined with another private school and had the day talk and the First Session of the day was talking about when you're a child, you know who are the dangerous people in your life. So it was talking about how it was. It was generally talking about when you are in a fear situation and like what security measures you can take. So it's like run towards the nearest house and screen met male names, Dad, you know, Sean, Matt those sorts of things, because the perpetrators who are following you will usually run away buck off if it's a man's name. Yeah, he was like don't buy security cameras, put a pair of size fifteen gun boots or rugby boots on your door set things like that. At the time I was like genius, you tend me. was like this is actually really helpful, and I don't actually argue that's not helpful. It's it's helpful. Middle of the day. Is One of the most interesting things and I think it links directly back to this survey. A lot of the talk was about pornography laws. What is the definition of the legal definitions in...

...different jurisdictions of sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, all these sorts of different terms right, which is very helpful because I think that one of the biggest issues with these surveys can be people don't understand what harassment is. Yeah, and then I understand what the salt is and they don't nderstand what rape is. So one of the anecdotes, and I use that term very loosely, that he used during that middle session was that he talks at many Unio weeks and he talks to you know, most shit like you tend and the Levens in in the state basically knew how the whales and he had someone during a week approach him after the talk and say I was rape last night and I didn't know until you spoke because I didn't know the definition of rape, and that that's what happened to me, and that was really confronting. But also the the key recommendation that he made for women who are in situations where they're about to be raped is to make the perpetrator feel like they're in control and look for an escape mechanism. So he was saying if someone like starts raping you just like I'll stop, I want to do this. It's want to go the toilet first and then fuck off. That was like the Ken. He was like, I've never had inope as hasn't worked. Now I don't know if you ever ex at the time, and this is what's concerning to me. Yeah, when channel put this story up, one of the things was that's what struck me. The responses was I listened to a talk where the person told me to put the perpetrator in charge and then escape and then that that was worth the effect of that. And then the commentary is basically like this is what most girls in use of Wales like, the talk they received, in the advice they received, because the same person was used for every school in the state for a period of time. Yeah, and that struck me because I was like, well, that's me too. That's exactly what I was taught and the time it felt empowering. The end of the day was, you know, poke them in the eyes and moving selfdefense. So it was like well, I look back on it, I think at the time it was probably quite progressive for our school. Let us do that, but looking back I think how fucking problematic at was right. Yeah, and it is a tough one because, and we're going to do another episode about fighting with people who are on your side. Ye, so that's either coming or has already happened. Yes, look out for it. But,...

...like, the thing for me is, like I don't like I I would assume that this man genuinely like believes itselful exactly. And like sometimes in the moment, because you know, you're told all these things about like, I don't know, I feel like it's when we're always like it told girl power, don't let them, don't let them step all over you, but it's just like what do you actually mean? So I think there is like it's a tough one because in some some part of me wants to say, well, at least like that's some practical advice, that's not just like be cavil. Yeah, but also it's just like God, yeah, and I think the other part is like that really doesn't consider a range of circumstances where it may be that you're in a relationship or you're being raped. It may be that you're unconscious and you're being raped or you've been drugged, and those situations don't really allow for that argument, right and I'm not saying that it's blanket unhelpful as a statement, because I think there are circumstances where, if you're a fightal flight mode, it might be something that you think of, right, but I think what I think back it's it's really putting the owners back on the victim and the fact that US girls spent half a day more than the boys learning about this stuff is so pivotal to me. Yeah, but it makes me think about how little we actually know and understand of the differences in how to classify our experiences, like what. Like when I listen to those stats and I hear, you know, twelve percent or twenty five percent, I'm like, I don't know a single woman that hasn't been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed. Right. So I always just think, I look at that and go and fuck off. Yeah, but then I guess the question is, like other classifying ators, like at university, how many people like I think that if you lived on campus at university, you know someone who's been sexually assaulted or raped. Yeah, like that's just I can't see a way out of that. I remember when I was at college the Red Zone report came out which was really famous at the time and it mentioned my college in particular, was a huge issue. Well, the other thing, and just on that, like because we see these numbers and we're like under...

...representation. Yeah, but then, like there's a quote. Where is she? So the CEO of University as Australia? Could Troyna Katrina? Or is it Katriona Katrio? It's Katrina, so it's just Irish wave spelling. Katrina. Okay, Katrina Jackson, see, of our university Australia. This is from an ABC article. Said, I won't pretend we aren't disappointed by the results today. We would have hope the results were considerably better. And she's told that to hack. When I read that I felt blinding rage. Yeah, were better, but the fuck you hoped, like people are people getting raped and you hope it was better. Yeah, because the again, like, like I said, like we see those numbers and we're like no way, like that's way too low. Absolutely she's like maybe higher than we hope. Yeah, I off. I think. I I'm not saying this is a better representation because I think that the demographic of our followers are women who have recently been at university. So it is going to be a start contrast in numbers. But I did put up some Poles last night asking people for their experiences and and whether they okay, I'll just read them out. If you attended university, were you sexually assaulted during this period of time? Twenty three percent said yes. Okay, so and that's actually assaulted. Yeah, right, in South Wales it's not rape, it is sexual assault. So that's double their numbers that we've yet off the official but here's the other thing. Right, the definition of sexual soult is different each jurisdiction. So sexual soult Quins and it's not rape, but it is in your south Wales, for example. Yes, right, but I've been I guess just it depends more on the colloquial like yes, if people are I know. So there's obviously challenges. Yeah, obviously this is not the same level as the official report. Okay, now, do you know someone who was sexually assaulted while at University? Fifty one percent said yes. Interesting that. It's fifty one percent said yes, but it's fifty one said they know know some of only twenty six percent said that happened to them. Yeah, yeah, have you experienced...

...either yourself or someone you know sexual assault while on campus or basically in a capacity directly related to uni, for whether that be that you lived on campus at college, that you were attending like a university function, something like a ball, you know, there's all these university adjacent events. Thirty one percent said yes, okay, because this is a thing. Is like also, when they're measuring this, it's hard to say like okay, for example, we went to Uq. So how many times did you know set someone who has actually salted while at the re, which is a pub which is an awful bomb near uni? I mean it's not even one of the worst. No, but what I like it's like, would you consider that to be a university affiliated event, if someone's at the ree? No, I wouldn't exactly, but it kind of is. Yeah, okay. My last question, which is interesting sect if we got some really different answers, was basically like, when you were at uni, where you ever taught or, you know, did you ever undertake any sort of coursework around consent, healthy relationships, sexual misconduct, like any sort of modules, coursework, any training or development? Only nineteen percent said yes, but I got a lot of messages about this one saying that a lot of different news. Actually, some like I would say ten to fifteen were listed where you couldn't complete your first Messo without doing three modules on consent or you had like. But also a lot of people said they undertook these in gender studies classes. The other thing is really counted? Exactly? No, I don't think so either. But interestingly, and I think this is so true, someone said, if I remember correctly, the thing about Jenner studies classes as the people that really need them never take them. Yeah, exactly. I think that's perfect point. Now someone messaged and I just want to read this sub because I thought, wow, this is fucking it. This woman has message and I asked her if I could read this lad because I just think it's short and sharp and awful. I remember guys just whanking in the Melbourne Unilibrary, when I told the library and she said it was very common. Oh my God, that is awful, that is horrific. Right, but that's it. Yeah, that...

...is it. In a nutshell. For me, is just like this blatant disregard for the boundaries of others all the fucking time. Right when I so let's begin. When I lived on campus, I don't care, with for two years and I lived at a college which was the most diverse out of any. If you know you q probably know which one I'm talking about, but I'm not going to name it. Basically, it was only twenty five percent Australian domestic students. In my first year as a fresher, worst cringe term of all time. I, you know, heard a lot of stories of harassment and assault and misconduct, but it was only in my second year when I was basically like senior resident, are whatever you call a the bit where you have a fucking lanyard and you're in charge a bit more. That was me for my second year and I undertook like mental health, first aid training, like just so like I was a fire warden, I was all these things. So I was kind of across a lot of disclosure matters and how to handle the sort of stuff. We did get. Hit my teeth on the MIC. We did get a lot of training, like I would say like a day's worth of training on how to handle sexual assault disclosures and things like that. That year, I think, if I remember correctly, there were three counts of allegations of rape in the college and one was never publicly declared, because I remember going to this meeting of the SRS are there's a team of ten of us, and the heads of the college sat us down and said a student has left the college and disclosed that she was raped and she wants to just not have to pay her second to Mester fies or she wanted to refund on part of it. There was the reason she disclosed. It was because you wanted to be able to leave without having to pay. Basically, she want to gather them. Do want to live with her perpetrator, her alleged perpetrator, however you want to put it. But she...

...didn't want to make a formal complaint and so no one would name him. Right. So we were told this had occurred. We had no idea who it was because there was a high turn over each semester because so many international students live with us. So it wasn't obvious who it was. It wasn't like one person just randomly dropped out. We didn't know and it really what frightened me was we were being told that someone was accused of rape who we lived with. Yeah, but we would never know who, MMM, and I move things sick, because it was a really hard balance where this person doesn't want to make a report and doesn't want everyone to know and doesn't want him to be kicked out necessarily. She just wanted to leave and live a life freely. Right. That's a really hard situation, because I was sitting there in rage thinking, well, you need to fucking do something. Then they were like, well, we can't undertake an investigation if she doesn't want to, and I remember thinking, like what do we what do we do? Like I am walking Im like I am walking around like at night after drinking. There's a lot of you know, drug culture, there's all these things with the perpetrator. Yeah, there was an instance where they did ask someone to leave because they were accused and that person was investigated by the university and more allegations came out. Who I lived with and was friends with for a period of time, Jesus, and looking back, actually saw him on tinder there that I had reported him. Good. I full on made a like two hundred word report, like this person's been accused of rate multiple times and the investigations have been undertaken, like because I want to fucking have it. Yeah, I was so humiliated that I was friendly with him, HMM, and that when the first allegation came out, I remember there was this culture. If she's lying right and looking back like there's one of the most embarrassing times of my life is thinking that I didn't know what to think instantly and I didn't back her instantly because I knew him more. Yeah, and that's embarrassing, but these things are normal. I think one of the hardest things is when you're living on campus and these things come out. Alcohol and drugs are blamed. No, it is a it is a social nightmare dealing with these things because it's clicky as high school and especially at some of the more elite each colleges. I can't imagine how people do with that, because...

...it's Clicky, it's a ladist and it's a really awful, toxic culture where I just don't think that people get out in the way that they should. Yeah, and I think that there were probably tens, if not hundreds, more occasions where these things occurred and no one spoke up because they were international students or they you know, their parents are paying a lot of money for them to be there. I think it creates a really weird culture and power dynamic when you know that there's not going to be anything done by the university. That's very common knowledge as well. And again, I loved my college experience, but it did break my spirit a bit to see this in action. Yeah, yeah, and I think like one of the big things so that one of the main kind of elements that have been covered by all of the medias who have that have covered this report has been about like well, let's improve their methods of reporting and like what you've just said about your the training that you receive is like what do you do when someone discloses a rape to you? And while I do obviously it's understand it's really important to get to make sure that you there are places for survivors to report, I just like get so bothered when that's kind of it just seems like that's where all the effort is put in, that's the only the line fucking late, like, and I mean I get it, obviously, sometimes it is too late and you just want something to be done about it. It's like, what can I do now that this has happened to me, or what happened to someone who has told me, but it's like is that really where you are you going to put all your resources into that? Like how about looking further down the like before that? Like what do we what can we do to like prevent the stuff from happening? Genuinely, and I think it is a bit of a tough one again because of this, because this report was like about universities, and also because I didn't go to college, and so it's for me it's like a very different experience. I just wonder, like how...

...much of this stuff is it kind like it should have been dealt with in high school, yeah, like that education and everything like that. And in college it is different because they actually do have the capability to sit down, like all the new college students, and like actually tell them, yeah, that it's fucking not okay, to great people and like what happened, what you can do if something does happen. But for a lot of people it's like when you go, because I didn't have I really don't think I had any friends who lived on campus that I really knew, and so for me, like in my kind of circle of friends, people had just finished school and then graduated and then moved away like two hours away from their hometown and lived with their friends and gone to uni. Yeah, and so it was very much like you know where. And I guess in college you could argue the same thing. A's like, oh, we're independent for the first time. In College, I guess you're just not quite as a loan, but you're alone. You Got Independent for the first time. You're probably just starting drinking. You know, drugs involved or involved. You're kind of like free to do whatever you want to do and lack of supervision exactly. We're adults at that time. I think the other thing is, and this is one probably is very confronting, but when so, essentially the way that like it worked at college, when I was a senior resident, I was like an advisor sort of person, was that I would do shifts. So we would have like phone, Fire Wad and like wo'd be basically in charge and you would there would be special events or we take shifts. So I took our college ball night. So I was not drinking that night, and is that you're a sensibility to be sober. You have to be sober because you have to call the endbulance or something happens. Yeah, and I remember that not I think I we refer to it as backpacking people. So when someone's obscenely drunk, like the drunk as you've ever seen anyone, and you put them...

...in the backpack position, so you get a big backpack and you feel it and you put it on them so that when they vomit they don't choke Jesus. And I remember coming back and getting like many calls because it's a duty phone, so you call the duty phone if you need a start to come and do something, and everyone's drunk. So like that was like my special event that I had to handle. And we got home. I was sober, I was in my pajamas, like running around because people needed to be backpacked right, and I was literally looking at these people coming in and out of consciousness, like ambulance, no ambulance, ambulance, no ambulance, and having to make the determination. One of my best friends is studying Baramettos and the nursing and I would be like, come here and make the call. That's not you're not normal. I was nineteen. Yeah, right, and I'm looking at someone's eyes rolling back into the head in deciding if I call triple zero or not. Fu Can hell and this is the thing. It's like the very, very confronting, but also I felt like I learned a lifetime of lessons about alcohol and drugs in the first six months in my college experience, because the first thing you learn in the first week. I remember all got sat down because someone got left behind once and then and bill seemed to be called. And the thing is, like, I know that women especially never do this, but few weeks ago one of my male friends said that they had left someone behind in a nightclub, like a just one one guy by himself, and I became so fucking enraged by this, because women can't do that. Yeah, if you leave a woman behind while she's intoxicated or on drugs, or even if you think she's with a guy, you actually can't. Women don't do that to each other because the result is rape or death. Yeah, right, when men do that, it's like funny, you'll all rank that that. That's the first thing I learned at college was like you fucking never leave anyone behind, right, you just never leave someone alone that sort of an environment. Yeah, and I think these are the lessons that you learn really fast and those sorts of tops and it's less than we shouldn't have to learn, right. But it makes me think about like this alcohol and drug fueld culture and how it's so condensed. It's just like the worst elements of humanity, condensities, like hormone filled years, where...

...just awful shit happens to everyone. If it's not happening to you, it's happening to your best mate. Yeah, and it's like we got calls for suicide attense, we got called fucking backpacking, we called called the ambulance of people who are unconscious, you know. We got calls of people who were sexually harassing. These things just happened and it just like it's really weird because I still look back on these yearss like the most formative and like I learned so much and I had such a good experience. But I think about how that isn't the case for others. Yeah, I was like scared of men's what not, not in the not in like a predatory way. I was just scared of dating and and boys generally. And now and then you came out of a scared of them from yess. Yes. Well, I think, and the biggest thing for me is like I think that you know, in any like event, especially when you're young and you're drinking and everything, there is like a bit of an unspoken rule that people should be looking out for each other, and that is that's one thing to like look out for your mates or whatever, but then you you literally told by Your College that is your job. A kid is your responsibility to and let yes, you were paid, but like, is it your response for to decide if someone's going to fucking die on not? Like that's no, it's not. And I think you ring because there there's directors on site and things, but I agree, it's like really hard when it's your peers. Yeah, some colleges had security guards. MMM, and whenever there was liquor at an event on at our college, there would be security. Yeah, and like a licensing would turn up and red frogs. Best Organization ever. Yeah, even though I don't like Christianity, that's one good thing. You know, pet I can't volunteer with them unless you're part of the church. Yeah, which I would donate and and volunteer my time if I could, but I don't want to go to church. Do you know what's so funny? Because I went to a really conservative Christian school, like like my friends who went to state schools. They the red frogs came to their school and like told them like call less if anything happens, and then they went to schools and they were like all red frogs are legends at my school. It's just like I saw you going to be a red frog or no, like just such a different,...

...yeah, experience. But Anyway, I was when you were saying like about how women don't leave each other behind, I was just thinking about when I first moved to Brisbane and I went to like one of the uni bars and I was there with like friends that I knew like from my hometown, and one of them I couldn't find and I was like wait, where is she? It wasn't really that late and so I wasn't like concerned, but I was just like weird, because she's not really one to like ghost yeah, and then I ran into like a mutual friend who I didn't really know that well and I was like Oh, where is so and so, and he's like, oh, she like went over to this place and she she's looking for you, and I was like, oh, she's looking for me. That's strange. Cool, I'll go and I'm scared find her. She was fucking passed out on the ground and he fucked off and was like she's looking for I'm like, she doesn't have the capacity to be looking for anybody, like absolutely fuck you. I never sweake to this man again. I'm like, you are fucking dead to me. What the fuck is with people? MMM, honestly, sometimes, like I am horrified by these stats that come out, but then sometimes I'm like, I am shocked that it's not worse. No, agree. Remember my first week I was the person that was knocked out. MMM, I it was like my third day of the first week of UNI, ever, and it was an at college event and I was obliterated and I lay down on the ground when liquor licensing arrived to check that everything was Ok being regulated correctly, and wasn't direct like the director of the college, like was like get her out of here. HMM. And I think it's what for optics? And then, I mean, I was fucked and I was getting aggressive to like I won't like I was so humilis. This is one of the most humiliating days in my life. Right, I got taken to bed and then I woke on the couch like five...

...am, like old Jesus fucking that's just the worst, right, and I was I almost never went back to college, like I was so like embarrassed. Yeah, and I got called into the office to be spoken to about what had happened and I left and I felt so ashamed, you know, and rightly so. It was awful what I did. I mean I was fucking freshly eighteen and all these things and it wasn't acceptable, the behavior or the drinking. But I felt like the talking to was about optics. It wasn't about that. It's, you know, drinking and risks and you know, it wasn't really about me. It was about like the look, right, and I just think, like it was your event. Yeah, you were serving me. Yeah, and that's not an excuse. It's my fault I drank that much. But it was more about what it could have done as a fine for the college, as opposed to like my behavior and drinking and how I should be responsible and blah, blah, blah. That's fucked. Yeah, if they're going to give you, I mean, I honestly I'm all for those kinds of talks, absolutely, but it should be about, like this is how you stop, not don't do that again. But also I feel like that was great because I did something. I had an awful night and then I was like, I never want that happen again. Yeah, I got spoken to and to me it's like more about getting in trouble. Is The scariest element. Yeah, and I got in trouble and then I was forced to write a letter apologizing, don't know, too the student club who like around the event. Whatever. What the fuck, that's fuck, just the but the fact that you had to apologize for that when you know how much fucked up shit has gone on and people get away with it. Yeah, it's really interesting because it's like, I think that those talks are good and they scare people into because they could also do alcohol bands for people. So if you had more than three of those occasions, you'd be banned from drinking. Yeah, she's interesting. I don't know how that actually functions. I mean that just means that people would drink elsewhere. But what I found was when you were a first year and that happened, it was much easier to get a band, whereas when the actual mental health problem started with the older students, they would never have the same ramifications right, even though they were much worse. HMM. It was dished out unfairly and...

...on the basis of the hierarchy. Yeah, right, that's fucked, but anyway, I deserved it. I never got that bad again and then the next year I was fucking in charge of these people. So they're like, wow, Hanna's really larn given here some response. But I think it's important to be honest as well, because I think that we all have those days. I mean, that was just monitored and everyone saw it. So it's way worse and embarrassing, but I think it's I think. I think the conversation around you have to shock about acohol and you talk about the issues as well, alcohol on drugs. Yeah, exactly, and that's not an excuse and it's not it shouldn't be a mitigating factor, in as a pet for a perpetrator's right. It's always the reason that we undermine the experience of victims, but I think that we have to involve our cohol in our discussions as well and use it as something to say it influenced both parties. HMM, but it doesn't mitigate what happened. Yeah, especially when you're talking about in the context of UNI. Yeah, and the and preventative context, as opposed to after the disclosure, because that's the end of the line. When the rapist happened, everything's failed. Yeah, exactly, exactly. If you didn't find us a completely insufferable come back next Wednesday for a new episode. Could also find this on Instagram, at Cheek Media Co or online. Cheek Mediacom donated. Yes, the thought that's the one.

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