The following are examples of sexual violence with examples of how you could help:
There’s a party at your residence to welcome new comers. A girl you don’t recognise has had way too much to drink. A couple of guys walk over and one slides his hand up her skirt while the other opens the buttons on her shirt.
What To Say
- Confront the guys and tell them “leave her alone! She’s drunk.” Then stick around to see if they leave.
- Tell someone around you, like a friend, senior resident or leader, and get them to help you break up the situation.
- See if she is okay and tell her you are there to help
- See if she has any friends with her who can get her home safely
- When she is sober remind her that if she needs support she can contact the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on (02) 6247 2525
You’re at the pub with some uni mates. Your friend, Ben, is in fine form, being loud and obscene as usual. Everyone is laughing and having a great time. Simon bends over to rummage through his bag to get his wallet. Before he can right himself Ben is standing behind him, grabbing his hips and humping vigorously.
“Oi, Simon says he loves it doggy-style!”
You laugh with the rest of them, but after a while you notice Simon isn’t saying much. When you’re alone you ask him what’s up.
“When Ben does stuff like that to me, you know…” he trails off. “It kind of makes me feel like shit.”
What’s the big deal?
What’s the big deal? Isn’t it just meant to be messed up and funny?
What Ben did fits within the definition of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is defined by The Australian Human Rights Commission as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, where a reasonable person would anticipate that reaction in the circumstances.
Ben mimed an intense sexual act on Simon in front of a group of people and did not have Simon’s permission. From the above definition is is fair to assume that this is going to make Simon feel humiliated, offended, or intimated, even if it was meant as a joke.
What To Say
- You could support Simon by listening to him and making him feel heard. Assure him he can always come to you if he feels uncomfortable. That’s what friends are for.
- You could find a way to call Ben out on what he did (you can find a great list of examples from The Line here. They are aimed at sexist behaviour but work for sexual violence as well)
- You can let Simon know that if he ever needs support he can call The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on (02) 6247 2525
You’re taking the bus to uni. Close by you see some guy hassling a woman. The bus is crowded but you definitely saw him cop a feel of her arse. By the discomfort on her face you know it wasn’t welcome. The woman looks frustrated and embarrassed. You can tell she wants to move away but the bus is packed.
What To Say
- If it is safe you could confront the guy by telling them that their actions are wrong, unacceptable, and harmful.
- Help the woman to move away from him.
- See if she is okay and ask her if she would like to seek help.
- Tell someone in authority, like the bus driver.
- Suggest they debrief with a friend, university counsellor, or call the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre for Support on (02) 6247 2525
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s Report “Change the Course” found that 22% of students who had admitted to being sexually harassed in a university setting had been on public transport going to or from university.
You’re leaving class when you overhear your lecturer talking to a student.
You hear them say, “Come on. Just one drink?”
The student replies, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“That’s what you said last time! You know, I gave you that extension last month so you kind of owe me.” they say.
“Uhh…okay then…just one.” The student replies.
That’s not consent!
Remember the term Free Agreement?
The student is not freely consenting to go out with the lecturer (in fact they have said “no” before). The student is agreeing out of manipulation, fear, and intimidation.
What To Say
- You could confront the lecturer and say that the student isn’t really giving consent. The student just doesn’t want their uni work to be negatively impacted.
- Remind the lecturer that they are in a position of power and should not take advantage of that.
- You could wait to debrief with the student when they are on their own and remind them they do not have to do anything they are not comfortable with.
- You could encourage them to make a formal complaint with the university or make a complaint yourself.