UK survey: 1 In 7 women students have been subjected to sexual assault or violence

womens-campaign-logo-150x70.jpg A recent UK survey of 2000 women by the National Union of Students is summarised in a report titled Hidden Marks (direct link to PDF).

1 in 7 women students (14%) has been the victim of serious sexual assault or serious physical violence while at university or college, according to the results of a survey conducted by NUS today.

Here are some of the findings of this survey from the NUS Women’s Campaign:

  • 12% have been stalked while at university or college
  • In 60% of these cases of sexual assault or stalking, the perpetrator was also a student
  • Only 4% of women students who have been seriously sexually assaulted have reported it to their institution
  • Only 10% of women students who have been seriously sexually assaulted have reported it to the police
  • Of those 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

NUS Women’s Officer, Olivia Bailey, said:

“It is extremely disturbing that so many women students are assaulted and harassed while at university or college, and it is particularly worrying that the perpetrators in many of these cases are fellow students.”

“Women students can be left feeling like they are to blame for the violence committed against them. Clearly, not enough is being done to encourage women students to report all instances of assault or harassment to their institutions or to the police.”

“This report is a wake-up call. Universities and colleges must work more closely with local police, victim support services and health services in order to give victims the security and confidence to come forward. Institutions must also deal with all reported instances of assault or harassment with the utmost seriousness, so that no students are left in any doubt that such behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK added:

“With research showing that a third of the UK population habitually blame a woman who’s raped if she’s been ‘flirtatious’ or worn sexy’ clothing, it’s sadly not that surprising that so few students report sexual violence.”

“We’re never going to break a vicious cycle of low levels of reporting meaning few perpetrators being brought to justice if we don’t tackle this issue of women feeling they may be disbelieved or even blamed.”

“We need a public information campaign to challenge this ‘blame culture’ and university campuses should be a key location for this.”

A PDF copy of Hidden Marks: A study of women students’ experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault can be downloaded here.

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