Respect. Now. Always.
Macquarie University is committed to preventing and responding to incidents of sexual assault, and to providing ongoing support.
In New South Wales, sexual assault is a term used to describe sexual or sexualised acts that make a person feel uncomfortable, intimidated or frightened. It is behaviour that is not wanted or welcomed and where consent has not been given. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, sex, gender or ability.
The response to sexual assault is different for everyone who experiences it and can include immediate, short-term and long-term physical and psychological effects on wellbeing.
In Australia, one in five women over the age of 15 have been sexually assaulted (Australia Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey, 2012) and 27 per cent of female university student survey respondents (National Union of Students, 2015) have experienced some form of sexual assault.
The Hunting Ground
The arrival of The Hunting Ground (2015) documentary in Australia has renewed interest in the incidence of sexual assault and harassment in Australian universities. The Hunting Ground is a powerful and confronting documentary that points to American campus cultures and systems that allow and protect a raft of disrespectful and criminal student behaviours, where victims who report incidents face ‘victim blaming’, denial, delays and bureaucratic obfuscation.
In response, Universities Australia has launched a campaign called Respect. Now. Always. which many universities have adopted. Macquarie University has developed a cultural change project under the name of Respect. Now. Always., which aims to improve our capacity to prevent and respond to sexual violence incidents involving Macquarie students and staff.
The project includes:
- consultative policy and procedure review
- development of a central online hub
- sex and ethics education program for student leaders and key staff
- awareness campaign for students, including the screening – led by the Vice-Chancellor – of The Hunting Ground
- participation in the National Sexual Assault and Harassment Survey.