Showing posts with label sexual assault. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sexual assault. Show all posts

Monday, 4 December 2017

Sexual harassment & sexual assault make Sydney University residential colleges unsafe for students


“The cultural conditioning of girls as gatekeepers and surrogate mothers is supposed to keep boys in a perpetual state of liberation. They can do as they please and trust that the consequences of their actions will be held against any woman they choose to hurt in the process. This form of gendered entitlement is particularly evident in men who enjoy wealth and privilege, both of which can be found in overbearing quantities on the campuses of residential university colleges.”  [Clementine Ford in The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 2017]

Honi Soit, 29 November 2017:

In 2009, amidst allegations of sexual violence at the colleges and the formation of a “Define Statutory” facebook group by St Paul’s students, several students, activists and academics wrote to St Paul’s, urging the college to undertake a wide-scale review of their culture with special attention being paid to sexual assault. This did not happen. Instead, St Paul’s hosted a White Ribbon fundraising dinner.

In 2011, calls for a review into college culture were raised again. Broderick’s review of how women were treated in the Australian Defence Force Academy, which followed an incident where a male cadet livestreamed himself having sex with a female cadet via Skype, recommended that similar reviews be undertaken at university college campuses where the same issues existed.

However, following years of discussion, in 2014 the prospect of a college review was killed off by Group of Eight Universities, including the University of Sydney, amidst concerns for reputational damage.

“I think some of those objections were based on perception of reputational risk,” Dr Damian Powell from the University of Melbourne told the Sydney Morning Herald

“The honest answer is it was put in the ‘too hard’ basket.”

According to Funnell, “It was incredibly disappointing when in 2014, the Go8 killed off an earlier attempt to review the colleges. It demonstrated how defensive and reputation-conscious they were.”

Incidents of sexual harassment and bullying continued. In 2016, University of Sydney Union media outlet Pulp revealed instances of slut-shaming at Wesley College, where a widely distributed college publication included a ‘Rack Web’ detailing “inter-college hook-ups”. A week later, Honi detailed ongoing incidents of bullying and sexual harassment across all residential colleges.

Months later, in October 2016, Broderick was engaged by the University of Sydney and all colleges, except for St Paul’s, to undertake a review of college culture, and “evaluate the strengths and challenges of residential life”…..

The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2017:

As many as 32 per cent of women at University of Sydney colleges have experienced sexual harassment and 6 per cent of female college students have experienced actual or attempted sexual assault, with other college students making up the vast majority of perpetrators, a review of college culture has found.

The review, led by former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, found that sexual misconduct, "hazing" and a problematic drinking culture persist at five of the university's six residential colleges, a number of which have come under fire for repeated incidents of sexual misbehaviour by students.

More than 1000 students from Sydney University's Sancta Sophia, St Andrew's, St John's, Wesley and Women's colleges were surveyed by Ms Broderick's team and more than 630 students were interviewed since October last year, with a 69 per cent participation rate across the five colleges…..

St Paul's College, which initially refused to participate in the review but recently joined the process, is not included in the findings and will receive a separate report in June next year.

Female students from St Andrew's College and Women's College reported some of the highest rates of sexual harassment and actual or attempted sexual assault, with 32 per cent of students at Women's College and 30 per cent of women at St Andrew's College saying they have experienced sexual harassment since starting at college.
At both colleges, 8 per cent of women said they have experienced actual or attempted sexual assault…..

Across all five colleges, 25 per cent of women and 6 per cent of men said they have experienced sexual harassment and 6 per cent of women and 1 per cent of men said they have experienced actual or attempted sexual assault.

Of these, 96 per cent of students who experienced sexual harassment and 73 per cent of students who experienced sexual assault said a fellow student from their college or a different college was the perpetrator.

About 90 per cent of all incidents occurred on college grounds.

The review also found that only 9 per cent of college students who experienced sexual assault and 3 per cent of those who experienced sexual harassment made a formal report.

About 31 per cent of those who experienced sexual assault and 49 per cent of those who experienced sexual harassment did not seek any assistance, the review found, with common reasons including that students "didn't think it was serious enough", "did not think I needed help" or "thought I could sort it out myself".

The review also found that 15 per cent of all college students reported that there was too much focus on drinking alcohol at their college and 13 per cent of students said they have been pressured to drink when they did not want to.

Read the full article here.

The review report Cultural Renewal at the University of Sydney Residential Colleges can be read here.

Monday, 6 November 2017

US President Donald Trump can run but can he hide?


After months of fighting to have this court case go away US President Donald J. Trump is in the process of being forced to hand over documents relating to at least ten sexual assault allegations, as part of a defamation action.

This subpoena only became public in September 2017.

According to BuzzFeed on 15 October 2017:


Trump’s response to Zervos’s motion is due Oct. 31, according to Zervos’s attorney, Gloria Allred. In a statement Allred said: “We are hopeful that the court will deny President Trump’s motion to dismiss, so that we may move forward with discovery and obtain relevant documents and testimony.”

The original compliant and jury demand was lodged in the Supreme Court Of The State Of New York County Of New York in January 2017 as Summer Zervos v Donald J. Trump.

UPDATE

Trump's response has been reported in the media as characterising his allegedly defamatory statements, about private citizen Summer Zervos, as political opinion protected under the US Constitution.

Monday, 25 January 2016

On an official visit to Italy in May 2015 Australian Attorney-General George Brandis secretly met with Royal Commission witness Cardinal George Pell in Rome and still refuses to explain himself


No wonder Labor’s Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC MP decided to take Attorney-General Senator George Brandis QC to court in order to see his official diary containing the weekly agenda between 18 September 2013 and 12 May 2014 – appears it’s not just about an alleged lack of consultation over environmental legal agency and arts funding cuts.

The following also suggests more than one motive may lie behind the Attorney-General currently using taxpayer funds to appeal the Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision in the Federal Court, in order to continue to block Dreyfus from seeing his ministerial diary.

This is a snapshot of a 4 May 2015 media release by the Attorney-General’s Department:


This is Ten News breaking the secret meeting story on 20 July 2015:

Brandis' secret meeting with Pell

Victims of child sexual abuse, being examined by the Royal Commission, have slammed Federal Attorney-General George Brandis over a secret meeting in Rome he had with Cardinal George Pell, who's long been accused of protecting paedophile priests.


This meeting, between the Catholic Attorney-General and the Australian Cardinal-Prefect heading the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, took place over a meal at the official residence of the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See John McCarthy QC. 

It is understood that it was in May 2015 that Cardinal Pell was privately informed that he was to be recalled to give evidence in late 2015 by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

On 25 May 2015 Pell responded by letter to the Royal Commission stating his intention to comply. As the cardinal well knows that anyone residing overseas cannot be summons to appear, the one quote from his letter found in the relevant media statement is rather too 'cute' for words

So it probably came as no surprise to avid followers of these hearings that, on 11 December, five days before he was to attend the Royal Commission, Cardinal Pell plead illness and refused to travel to Australia. 

His appearance in person has been rescheduled for February 2016 during a further Case Study 28 hearing.

Anyone holding their breath as they wait for George Pell to appear in person at the Royal Commission again needs to exhale now, as ceasing to breathe until the Last Judgement Day is necessarily fatal.