Protesters Interrupted Sydney Uni Open Day To Condemn The Handling Of Sexual Assault On Campus
"Red tape won't cover up rape."
More than 20 demonstrators carrying leaflets and wielding mattresses emblazoned with slogans such as “welcome to the hunting grounds”, “protect students not reputation” and “red tape won’t cover up rape” have staged a protest at this morning’s University of Sydney Open Day, calling out the way in which university administrators have handled sexual assault and harassment on campus
The protesters targeted prospective students and their parents, handing out fliers featuring alarming statistics about the rates of sexual assault in Australian universities, including one that alleges that 41 per cent of students who reported their experience to the University of Sydney “felt that the procedures ‘did not help at all'”.
— Nina Dillon Britton (@n_dillonbritton) August 27, 2016
A number of demonstrators also entered an auditorium where an information session was taking place. In a video shared on Facebook by the University of Sydney Women’s Collective, university administrators can be seen attempting to usher parents out of the room.
Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Student Representative Council Women’s Office Anna Hush said that the parents were “very supportive” and had shouted out their encouragement. “I think it really hit home to them that this is where they are sending their children and this is a constant danger,” she said.
The protests come after a decade’s worth of University Women’s Officers penned an open letter to the Vice Chancellor earlier this week, in which they condemned the university’s alleged poor handling of sexual assault on campus. “We are writing as a united group to highlight that for well over a decade, the university has been aware of the issue of sexual assault on campus,” reads the letter. “For over a decade calls to change this culture have gone unanswered.”
Another Facebook post by the Women’s Collective stated that “the university’s silence on this issue condones a rape culture that allows for student fear, trauma and unrest to persist,” and that “today, we are informing future students and parents that student safety is neither guaranteed nor prioritized at this university.”
Feature image via Nina Dillon Britton/Twitter