sexual assault

The size — and composition — of the national vigils for comedian Eurydice Dixon on June 18 has given us some hope that with a growing awareness about violence against women we can achieve at least some of the measures we so desperately need.

Not since the community response to Jill Meagher’s murder in 2012 have so many people taken to the streets to demand that women have the right to live free of fear.

The rape and murder of comedian Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne on June 12 has prompted a nationwide discussion about the endemic nature of male violence against women, as well as a push for solutions — short and long-term.

MARGARITA WINDISCH, a sexual assault councillor and educator on family violence at Victoria University, spoke to 3CR on June 18. Below is a transcript of her remarks. The full Podcast can be found here.

***

I’m pleased there has been a swift backlash to the Victorian police urging women to take responsibility for their safety after the murder of Eurydice Dixon on June 12.

The police response is both ridiculous and misogynist. It puts the onus on women to avoid being attacked.

The logical extension of their approach is for women to stay at home, and only go out with a male chaperone.

A new report, entitled Don’t send me that pic, has reaffirmed what most women and girls already knew: sexual abuse and harassment are incessant, it starts young and it is on the rise.

Commissioned by Plan Australia and Our Watch, the survey collected responses from 600 girls and young women aged 15–19 across Australia.

In the wake of US film producer and former studio executive Harvey Weinstein’s outing as a sexual predator, who infamously preyed on young actresses, the hashtag #MeToo, which women are sharing to say that they too have experienced sexual assault or harassment, is now trending as an international discussion ensues about sexual violence and power.

So far more than 12 million women have shared the hashtag.

In Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence — from domestic abuse to political terror, psychiatrist and trauma specialist Judith Herman wrote: “The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable.”

As students commence semester two on August 1, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will release a report entitled The University Sexual Assault and Harassment Project, the culmination of year-long research into the nature, prevalence and reporting of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in university communities. 

In March last year, I ended an 18-month relationship that had become a physical and emotional torment. Although more than a year has passed since then, the harsh reality is that I — like so many other women — have been harassed my whole life simply because I was born female.

In Year 5, I was a topic of conversation among my male classmates because I was the first girl in class to start wearing a training bra. They would snap my bra straps every chance they got.

A study by student advocacy group End Rape on Campus has revealed the systemic failure of some of Australia’s highest ranking universities to deal with rape and sexual harassment allegations.

Over the past five years, more than 500 complaints of sexual assault — including 145 complaints of rape on campus — were made to the university administrations of several high-profile universities across NSW, ACT, Victoria and WA:.

Of these allegations, End Rape on Campus reported that only six cases — just 1.2% — resulted in the expulsion of the alleged perpetrators.

In a continuation of the rancid rape culture spewing from Australian university and high school campuses, a national grouping of young men identified with the Facebook page “Yeah the Boys”, which boasts half a million likes, is spitting chunks onto social media.

The page is receiving attention now because members of the group scheduled a “male-only” meet-up at Sydney's Coogee Beach. While the anonymous ‘Yeah the Boys’ page admins sought to distance themselves from the event, within hours thousands of the page’s followers had jumped behind it.

Pages

Subscribe to sexual assault