Making Oxford a safe place for all people
A study done by the NUS shows that 1 in 4 female undergraduates have experienced sexual violence. This translates into at least 1,400 oxford undergraduates being survivors of sexual violence. Nationally, 1 in 5 women over the age 16 and 3 in 20 men of all ages have experienced some form of sexual violence.
Statistically, you know someone who’s survived sexual violence. But it’s important to also keep in mind that behind these statistics are people, and every survivor has their own story and their own numbers.
(For a more in depth look at the UK statistics for sexual violence, go here.)
Anyone can be a survivor of sexual assault. People of all genders, sexual orientations, races, cultures, religions. Undergraduates, postgraduates, university staff. Anyone.
Sexual violence is a strange man raping a woman in a dark alley with a knife.
The survivor was “asking for it” because of the way they were dressed, how much they had been drinking, or the way they had been acting.
Sexual violence is no big deal, it’s something people can easily get over.
The stories can be really difficult to read, but they absolutely can be believed.
The most recent and most exhaustive UK study of rape reports found that only 3% of rape allegations are false, a rate which is equal to that for most crimes. In fact, for some crimes, such as car theft, the rate is much higher. And none of the research conducted has found a false allegation actually reaching court.
You can also listen. Listen to survivors. Believe them. Support them.
And listen to the people around you. If you hear them dismissing sexual violence or survivors, call them on it, and explain why comments like that hurt. If you’re at a party and see a friend looking uncomfortable, go talk to them and make sure they’re okay. It’s only by coming together that we can make Oxford safe for all people.