1 in 7 women students assaulted

first_imgHowever a male Law student who visited recently was left unimpressed. “While I was there I was putting on the façade that I was enjoying myself. I have no intention of going back.”He said that he thought the trip “might be a laugh”, and was aware of the negative side of the sex industry, “but I didn’t really care. Now I’d say that I would look upon it less favourably because of my experiences.”When asked whether he could understand why women may feel threatened by the presence of a strip club in Oxford, he said, “Yes. It encourages women to be viewed as objects and therefore I’d imagine that things like rape and sexual assault would be more common.“But I think that within the Lodge itself it’s safely regulated and I wouldn’t think anything untoward happens there.”Yang commented that negative portrayals of female sexuality take the moral onus away from the abuser. “Terms like ‘slag’ are put-downs that implicitly suggest a mould for female sexuality that, if not conformed to, makes the woman in question a deviant. Sexual abuse is a reflection of what we believe.”The combination of alcohol and casual sex often involved in student relationships makes the issue of consent particularly relevant at Oxford. Many Oxford students asked had been in a situation where consent had not been clear.One male student said, “I woke up in the morning with a girl from another college in my bed. We couldn’t really remember anything from the night before. I’ve always wondered about what happened – if she had claimed I’d forced her to have sex, I would have had nothing to defend myself with.”Amnesty International research has shown that a ‘blame culture’ attitude exists over clothing, drinking, perceived promiscuity, and whether a woman has clearly said “no” to the man. 26% of those asked said that they thought a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing.Around one in 12 people believed that a woman was totally responsible for being raped if she had had many sexual partners. 30% said that a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was drunk.More than four in ten student victims of serious sexual assault have told nobody about what has happened. Of the female students who did not report serious sexual assault to the police, 50% said it was because they felt ashamed or embarrassed, and 43% because thought they would be blamed for what happened.Yuan Yang said, “Welfare services such as Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre recognise that self-blame is prevalent among survivors of rape: “I didn’t say “no” loudly enough”; “I didn’t struggle hard enough”; “I shouldn’t have invited him to my room” and so on.“Challenging self-doubt is an important part of sexual violence rehabilitation, but it’s hard when victim blame, and sexual double standards, are such a prevalent theme of social discourse.”More than 13,000 rapes were reported to police last year, although the true figure is thought to be in excess of 50,000.Only 6% of cases reported to police end in conviction. 6 out of 7 people are unaware of this fact, and 98% underestimate the prevalence of sexual assault.Yang reassured students, “In Oxford, the police have been helpful in working alongside us in providing sexual abuse workshops to educate students about the prevalence and results of abuse; we do not have the same issues with lack of thoughtfulness from police officers as other parts of the country might.” A recent poll has shown that 1 in 7 women students have been the victim of serious sexual assault while at university or college, yet only a small minority have reported it.Only 10% told the police about the assault, and just 4% reported it to their institution, according to the data collected by the National Union of Students.60% of these attacks were carried out by fellow students. OUSU Women’s Officer Yuan Yang commented, “It makes it more difficult for the survivor to handle the experience of sexual violence if she is locked into a university system in which she must see them often.“It can be even worse if the abuser didn’t recognise the effect of their actions, or acts as if they don’t.”One Oxford student told of how she was assaulted last year. “I was at a house party last Trinity when a friend’s boyfriend pushed me up against the wall and pulled my knickers down without saying anything.“I was so shocked. I tried to push him away and told him to leave me alone but he didn’t. He kept kissing me and saying how good I looked that evening like that made it OK.“Somebody saw us and he let me go, but the story that got around was that I had seduced him somehow. I fully admit that I was drunk, but I in no way provoked him. I still see him sometimes. He was off his face and I don’t think he remembers it properly.”Currently, 1.3 in every 1,000 Oxford residents have officially been victims of crimes of a sexual nature, compared with only 0.9 nationwide.The recent controversy surrounding Thirst Lodge’s sex encounter venue licence raised fears within the University and the local community over women’s safety in Oxford. Studies in London, Nottingham and Scotland have shown that when clubs are granted lap dancing licences, there is an increase in violence, harassment, and sexual assault in the surrounding area.last_img

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