Politically Incoherent: Let’s Tackle Sexual Harassment At Universities

As the years march on, I often compare life to the Harry Potter films as with each one not only do the plotlines become more tenebrous, but the colour grading becomes increasingly desaturated. This is particularly noticeable with a side-by-side comparison. I’m only reminded of this when I read survey results by the Australian Human Rights Commission. More specifically, the recent statistics released about the prevalence of sexual assault on university campuses within Australia.

It revealed that fifty-one percent of students were sexually harassed at least once in 2016, while one in four students was sexually harassed in a university setting on at least one occasion in the same year. A “university setting” can be defined as on campus, travelling to and from the university and off-campus functions organised or endorsed by the institution itself. Out of 39 universities that have released individual data, the figures associated with the Australian National University were significantly higher than those recorded nationally. Although it must be noted that ANU had a very high participation rate for the survey, of 1,477 students, one of the highest response rates in the nation.

ANU announced earlier in August that students would have access to a full-time on-campus specialist sexual assault counsellor, which is all well and good. But what actual preventative methods can be taken? Alcohol and university culture go hand in hand. It stupefies and enrages people if they’re not aware of their limitations. It can bring out the best and worst in the human race simultaneously, depending on the way your body processes booze. No matter how many times it is reiterated that intoxication doesn’t equal justification, there will always be a percentage of people fumbling feebly for an excuse.

Not even Harry Potter had to worry about an unconsenting finger massaging his prostate while he was waiting for his butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks. He was too busy calculating various ways to defeat Voldemort. There was no allowance for such nonsense. It shouldn’t be necessary, but if a stranger offers to buy you a drink, whether you’re a male, female or a sophisticated sex robot from the future, ensure that you’re watching them constantly. This can be difficult in an environment of strobing lights and various appealing visuals but it pays to be cautious so you don’t end up getting bummed in a back alley with no memory of the incident. I mean, different strokes for different folks. If that type of activity gets your engines roaring, roam freely. Heck, date rape nail varnish is set for release later in 2017. Although it’s marketed towards women, I know plenty of guys who indulge in this fashion statement.

I feel as if the word ‘consent’ is used so often that it’s lost all meaning in our society. People hear it and their eyes seem to glaze over. It needs to be reinvented or supplemented with a new term to exemplify the importance. Perhaps we should just employ the Ludovico Technique to re-educate the entire populace as it feels like we’re living in a dystopian universe already.

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