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One In Three College Students Have Experienced 'Unwanted Sexual Contact'

Ben HaywardJune 24th
2019

A new survey has revealed the shocking levels of sexual assault and harassment taking place at further education institutes in the UK.

The research, carried out by the National Union of Students (NUS), found that one in seven students reported that they have been raped or subjected to an attempted rape while more than one in three have experienced unwanted sexual contact, such as pinching or groping, while a similar proportion had someone attempt to kiss them against their will.

The survey of over 500 people - which is the first time the NUS Women’s Campaign has looked at UK college students - shows that three in four have experienced some form of unwanted sexual behaviour, with a third of these experiences taking place at college and a fifth of these being during class.

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Many students say the unwanted sexual behaviour has left them feeling unsafe at college, leading them to miss classes and even consider dropping out as a result of sexual violence and harassment.

The report comes after campaigners recently warned that students are sharing sexual abuse allegations on social media as universities are failing to listen to their complaints, reports the Independent.

Speaking about sexual harassment in colleges, Sarah Lasoye, women’s officer of the NUS, said: “While students may understand the concept of consent they struggle to put it into practice, with women fearing revenge and anger from men, and LGBT+ and disabled students at the sharpest end of sexual violence.

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“The sooner we can open up our understanding of feminism and educate young people on sexual harassment and assault, along with healthy and transformative gender relations, the sooner we will be able to eradicate the toxic behaviours and attitudes that replicate and concretise themselves in the minds of young people.”

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “For most students, campuses are a safe space, with safeguarding at the heart of everything that colleges do. However, one act or threat of sexual violence is one too many.

“Reporting sexual violence and threats of sexual violence is never easy but we would urge students to speak to staff so that they can provide them with the right levels of support and protection and to help them to improve their zero tolerance policies.”

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