We should all be talking about #UnsafeAtUni, and here's why
University should be a time when it's acceptable to go straight from the club to lectures, lie to your parents that you're being really adult when you haven't washed up for weeks and most importantly, have the best, most fun-filled three years of your life.
Unfortunately for some, this is halted by experiences with all forms of sexual assault on and around campus, which Twitter users have been sharing on the hashtag #UnsafeAtUni to raise awareness about just how many people it affects and create solidarity among students.
With hundreds of tweets by people openly sharing their personal experiences, from being groped by lecturers in front of their classmates, to being spiked in nightclubs, it's clear that this is a rising problem that needs to be tackled head on to ensure the safety and happiness of both current and future students.
The hashtag was initiated by Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates in response to a report published on how universities tolerate sexual violence- which has shone a light on the shocking reality of life as a female student.
Although there are no official figures on the number of sexual assaults at university, a Telegraph survey found that 1 in 3 students had been a victim of sexual assault or unwanted advances in some form.
Raped at university in my own bed by male student from same halls . Told my tutor who said everybody has drunk sex they regret #UnsafeAtUni
— Nunya Beeswax XX (@gomarciego) October 21, 2016
Walking from club to bus stop w/ friends, group of men began following us, unzipped friends dress, made rape threats #unsafeatuni— Carys (@carysglanville) October 21, 2016
The new report suggests Universities should have a reporting system that offers help and guidance to students who may be faced with these circumstances, although it's pretty shocking that these were not in place previously.
Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK and chair of the task force, said: “The university sector has been clear that there is no place for sexual violence, harassment or hate crime on a university campus, nor anywhere else.
“The impact of any such incident on a student is so potentially serious that universities must be ready to respond effectively and proactively engage in prevention initiatives.
She added that while the issue is not “isolated” to higher education institutions, universities “have a significant role to play, and are in a position to lead the way in preventing and responding to violence against women, harassment and hate crime, beyond the boundaries of the university campus.”
Universities minister Jo Johnson said it was now important that these recommendations, which have been sent to all UK universities, are implemented.