Warning: This article includes a detailed account of a sexual assault.
Google two of Australia’s most prestigious universities today and the results will give you just one message: For too many Australian women, university is not a safe place.
Over the past 24 hours, we have seen male students from Philip Baxter college at the University of New South Wales chanting a pro-rape song that includes the lyrics: “I wish that all the ladies were little red foxes and if I were a hunter I’d shoot up in their boxes.”
We’ve read male students from Melbourne University writing comments on images of female students like “Shoot me with tranquilizer right now before I go out to hunt!”.
You might be able to dismiss these incidents as “boys being boys” or some kind of youthful exuberance.
But there is something you can’t dismiss: The voice of woman who knows where this all ends.
Two years ago, we ran an letter from a student who was raped and then abandoned by her university. A woman whose friends had similar tales of sexual assault, coercion and shame.
We share her post again today. A day on which a rape survivor’s voice has never been so relevant.
To my university,
I’m writing this because you need to know how many women you’ve failed. Women who expected to attend university, go to classes and live at residential colleges on your campus without being raped. Women who tried to report it when they were raped but couldn’t find anyone who would listen. Women who are forced to see their attackers every day because on your campus, there are no consequences for raping a woman.