Empowered Campus report: 1 in 3 female students are sexually assaulted at university

Sophie McNally reports on the latest findings from the online Empowered Campus report, which looks into sexual assault at universities across the UK

Sophie McNally
21st December 2020
Image: Empowered Campus on Facebook
Online site ‘Empowered Campus’ has spoken out against sexual assault and is determined to make a big impact to change the shocking statistics surrounding it

At present, Empowered Campus covers over 100 universities’ students and is led by 43 Student Unions. They proudly claim to be a 'movement' that includes a whole host of individuals from academics to lawyers to past and present students.

Their most recently issued report confirms that 1 in 3 female students in the UK experience sexual assault. As well as this, 71% of male students affected do not reach out for help whatsoever. 

These frightening figures are upheld by poor statistics over the actual reporting of sexual assault cases, with 97% of students not reporting these incidents to their university, and only 2% of students feeling satisfied with their university’s reporting system and policies. 

Sexual violence continues to be a glaring problem for the student population, and Warwick University is a leading example of just how problematic it can get.

Recently exposed group chats created by students at the University show male students freely talking about their desires to assault others on campus. The comments have sparked outrage and disgust amongst the student body who have said enough is enough with the “Shame on You Warwick” protest at the end of November.

Many other high-profile universities have been in the spotlight over the same appalling issues, with Durham University’s scandal at the start of this academic year again having repulsive commentary such as a competition to "sleep with the poorest girl" brought to light. 

Empowered Campus have outlined a three-fold policy approach to prevent such incidents happening in the future, and to help victims in any way possible. This includes supporting both survivors and universities via seeking for gaps in official policy, and helping to create better access to support.

Their final aim is to build a national network in the hopes that this will target and resolve sexual assault cases with far greater ease and sensitivity.

With a “preventative, inclusive, empowering and trauma-informed” approach, Empowered Campus is a fantastic medium for progress on this issue. The reporting and statistics it uses greatly propel this movement forward, and allow for much wider public engagement in order to open up the conversation on sexual assault.

If you struggle with any of the issues raised in this article, wish to make a report, or seek help, please consult the Newcastle University website here: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/wellbeing/supportservices/sexualharassmentandviolencesupport/#svlos

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AUTHOR: Sophie McNally
Deputy Editor, History undergraduate, UB's The Spectrum alum and former KultureHub staff writer.

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