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Debunking Misconceptions: Feminist Efforts in Addressing Campus Rape

Commentary: There is a growing demand for universities to take stronger action against sexual assault on campus, with the “Teal” Independents leading the way. Monique Ryan MP stated, “All of us women who have attended Australian tertiary institutions know someone who has been raped while at university.” However, the claim that 275 people are sexually assaulted on campuses each week is questionable. The statistic seems to have originated from activists at End Rape on Campus (EROC), who misinterpreted data from a survey conducted by Universities Australia. The activist’s calculation was flawed, as they used an incorrect student population figure. Despite this, the ABC and feminist groups have used this statistic to criticize universities and pressure the government to take action. Consequently, Education Minister Jason Clare has appointed Patty Kinnersly, the CEO of Our Watch, an organization focused on male domestic violence, to oversee campus courts and the Sexual Assault and Harassment (SASH) bureaucracy in universities. This move aligns with the government’s emphasis on feminist causes, but it places an additional burden on universities that have already implemented various initiatives to combat sexual violence. Despite their efforts, universities are constantly under scrutiny and face accusations of not doing enough to ensure the safety of women on campus. This hostile environment has led some universities to resort to extreme measures, such as banning the use of normal email systems for SASH communication. The constant pressure and unfair treatment faced by universities are driving some university leaders to consider giving up. The feminist narrative surrounding consent and sexual relationships is contributing to the increasing number of accusations and subsequent campus court cases. Universities are discouraged from implementing measures that could effectively address the issue, such as promoting responsible drinking and encouraging clear communication and decision-making around consent. The Albanese government’s forthcoming actions are likely to worsen the situation, impacting both universities and the young men under their care who deserve fair treatment.

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