“Author, journalist and anti-sexual assault advocate” Nina Funnell on the university rape epidemic:

It’s known on campus as ‘the red zone’: the time at the beginning of the university calendar year when female students are most likely to experience rape. 

And it’s not an urban legend.

Sexual assault counselling services around the country have disclosed that the number of calls for help from female university students increases during and immediately following Orientation Week events at Australian universities.

It’s known as the “red zone” in the United States but it’s existence is contentious, a study proving less than conclusive:

The data providing substantial but incomplete support for the red zone.

A U.S. Bureau of Justice survey is enlightening, touching and grabbing far and away the typical sexual assault, rape being less than common, many victims unsure as to when an alleged rape occurred.



Realistically, immediately post-adolescent female university students will be more offended by a lack of male touching and grabbing than by attempts to touch and grab.

Back to Ms Funnell:

So, with hundreds of thousands of students around the country starting or returning to university this week, what are universities doing to address the issue of rape on campus?

If the student safety guides being spruiked by many universities are any indication, freshers will be given unhelpful and potentially dangerous tips on how to avoid “unwanted sex”, such as “be prepared to scream and shout if attacked” and don’t walk alone to the local phone box at night.

Of course, while such advice may be well-intentioned, it is grounded in victim-blaming attitudes and will fail to help young people navigate relationships respectfully.

Funnell hasn’t established that “rape on campus” is a problem and ignores the circumstances – alone late at night on a dark street – surrounding her own alleged sexual assault.

Back to Funnell’s rape-is-rife nonsense:

A recent survey of college halls and residences attached to Australian universities found that only one in six residences said they would run sexual assault prevention training involving a suitably qualified sexual assault service in 2017.

True, but universities not “involving a suitable qualified sexual assault service” have at least put some thought into student counselling:

Internal and external providers. Specifically: The college noted that they have done training in Dr Moira Carmody’s sex and ethics course and have embedded this into their own training, and that they have ongoing involvement with Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia. Further, noted that Brent Sanders consulting does 1-2 sessions per year. Noted that Vice Principal and Director of College Life Dr Hester Wilson facilitates much of the training in house and calls on external skills as needed.
Putting the Youth in the Picture’ is an evidence based, peer reviewed educational resource developed by Lawyer Adair Donaldson. It is delivered by trained CSU Residential Advisors under guidance from CSU Residence Life staff members who are qualified to train the trainer. This is because research has shown that peer led ‘distributed leadership’ learning is the most effective form of delivery for this kind of training.

Regardless, it’s unclear that programs meant to alter male attitudes are effective; attitudes do not determine behaviour.

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