Unwanted Sexual Advances Common in Universities, Market Research Finds

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16th September 2014 10:48 - Education

One in four university students have experienced unwelcome sexual advances - defined as inappropriate touching and groping - according to the National Student Union’s (NUS) survey.

For women alone, however, this figure rose to almost two fifths (37%).

The study, which was conducted with 2,000 male and female university students, also revealed that around one third of its participants said they had received unwanted sexual comments about their body - this was notably higher for women (37%) than men (12%).

Just under one third of the survey’s respondents stated they had witnessed a student being harassed based on their gender, with two thirds admitting they had been a bystander to unwanted sexual comments.

Three quarters (75%) of the students questioned said they had heard of online communities such as ‘Unilad’ and ‘Lad Bible’, with more than six in 10 (63%) of the survey’s female respondents putting the misrepresentation of women down to such sites.

More than half of the study’s participants believed women students were more vulnerable than men.

And, finally, six in 10 (60%) students said they did not know of any codes of conduct held by the university they attend which forbid or deter sexual conversations, sexual comments, unwelcome sexual advances, group intimidation and verbal harassment.

Toni Pearce, NUS President, said: “These stats show that harassment is rife on campus, but we still keep hearing from universities that there is no fear, no intimidation, no problem - well this new research says otherwise.

“Our Lad Culture National Strategy Team that includes students, students unions, and a range of external stakeholders, is launching a pilot scheme for five to 10 UK unions that will assess what lad culture looks like on their campus, and what is currently in place to tackle lad culture.”

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