Sexual assault and harassment information

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Sexual assault and harassment information

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If you have just experienced a sexual assault or are in immediate danger
  • Get to a safe place
  • Phone Triple Zero (000)
  • If on USC campus grounds, call the SafeUSC team on 07 5430 1168 (24/7)
Finding help and support if you have experienced sexual assault

There is no greater priority than the safety and security of our students, staff and community. If you have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed, we encourage you to report it to the University and the police.

If you would like support in reporting an incident of sexual assault or harassment please contact the SafeUSC Unit on 07 5456 3864, email safe@usc.edu.au or report online. The SafeUSC Unit can assist you with a range of supports such as learning adjustments, protective and supportive measures.

If you believe a criminal sexual offence has been committed, you can make a criminal complaint. View more information about reporting to police.

For confidential counselling or support, please contact USC Student Wellbeing. Student Wellbeing can also provide you with support around deciding the best course of action to take and recommending appropriate support and referral options.

Additional support services include:

Support Services at USC
  • Student Wellbeing (07 5430 1226)
    • Offer free and confidential counselling and psychological services
    • Located on campus
    • Please call to make an appointment, or find out more information
    • You may also book through the Student Hub
  • SafeUSC Unit
    • Please contact via email on safe@usc.edu.au or call 07 5430 3864
    • Provides assistance, advice and referrals relating to matters of personal safety
    • Ensure you get all the support you need
    • Discuss formal and informal complaint options
  • SafeUSC Team (Campus Security)
    • To report any security incident or concerning behaviour
    • Can follow up with police and emergency services, if necessary
    • If the situation is life-threatening or urgent, always call 000 first
What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault occurs in many forms. It is ANY unwanted or forced sexual act or behaviour without your informed consent. Sexual assault includes unsolicited attention, harassment or suggestions of a sexual nature.

Lack of informed consent occurs when the person being victimised is considered incapable of giving that consent due to:

  • The influence of drugs or alcohol—drink spiking or just enjoying one too many drinks.
  • Having been rendered unconscious due to a violent act towards them.
  • Is suffering fear paralysis due to the shock of the assault.
  • Being too fearful to resist the assault for fear of further harm or being killed or is fearful of future harassment or derogatory remarks being made to family, colleagues or being placed on Facebook or other social media.
  • Being outnumbered by the number of perpetrators.
  • Suffering from a health or medical condition which which does not allow the person to understand the sexual behaviour being exhibited towards them.

Sexual assault is not the same as sexual expression. Sexual assault is unwanted sexual behaviour or acts that use intimidation, coercion or force to exercise power or deny someone's right to choose. Sexual assault and abuse can be one-off events, or part of a pattern of violence. It has a range of effects, including physical, emotional and psychological effects. View the Queensland laws around sex and sexual offences.

The USC Student Charter outlines the mutual expectations between the University and the student body.

USC Anti-Discrimination and Freedom from Harassment—Governing Policy clearly defines sexual harassment as any unsolicited, unwelcome and unreciprocated behaviour, act or conduct of a sexual nature that embarrasses, humiliates or offends other persons. It can be a single incident or a persistent pattern and can range from subtle behaviour to explicit demands for sexual activity or even criminal assault and including but not limited to the following examples:

  • inappropriate jokes or comments with sexual connotations
  • the display of offensive material
  • stares and leers or offensive hand or body gestures
  • comments and questions about another person's sexual conduct and/or private relationships
  • persistent unwelcome invitations
  • requests for sexual favours
  • offensive written, telephone or electronic mail or other computer system communications
  • unnecessary close physical proximity including persistently following a person
  • unwelcome physical contact such as brushing against or touching a person
  • denigrating comments regarding a person's gender or sexual preference
  • negative behaviours, for example, intimidation or exclusions related to the sex of the recipient.
What is sexual harassment?

Sexual Harassment is any unsolicited, unwelcome and unreciprocated behaviour, act or conduct of a sexual nature that embarrasses, humiliates or offends other persons. It can be a single incident or a persistent pattern and can range from subtle behaviour to explicit demands for sexual activity or even criminal assault.

Some examples of sexual harassment include:

  • inappropriate jokes or comments with sexual connotations,
  • the display of offensive material,
  • stares and leers or offensive hand or body gestures,
  • comments and questions about another person's sexual conduct and/or private relationships,
  • persistent unwelcome invitations,
  • requests for sexual favours,
  • offensive written, telephone or electronic mail or other computer system communications,
  • unnecessary close physical proximity including persistently following a person,
  • unwelcome physical contact such as brushing against or touching a person,
  • denigrating comments regarding a person's gender or sexual preference, or
  • negative behaviours, for example, intimidation or exclusions related to the sex of the recipient.
What is lack of informed consent?

Lack of informed consent occurs when the person being victimised is considered incapable of giving that consent due to:

  • the influence of drugs or alcohol—drink spiking or just consuming too many drinks,
  • having been rendered unconscious due to a violent act towards them,
  • being asleep,
  • suffering fear paralysis due to the shock of the assault,
  • being too fearful to resist the assault for fear of further harm or being killed, or are fearful of future harassment or derogatory remarks being made to family, colleagues or being placed on Facebook or other social media,
  • being outnumbered by the number of perpetrators,
  • suffering from a health or medical condition which does not allow the person to understand the sexual behaviour being exhibited towards them,
  • being subjected to emotional blackmail (for example, 'if you love me you would do it'), or
  • being deceived in some way.

Not saying 'No' to sex, is not the same as saying 'yes.' Giving consent means you freely and without any pressure can provide a clear an unequivocal 'yes' to sexual expression.

For free online training on this topic, please visit the Consent Matters Blackboard page.

More information
Prevalence of sexual assault in Australia
  • 1 in 5 women in Australia will experience sexual assault at some time in their life
  • 70% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim
  • Less than 1 in 5 of those who experience sexual assault will report the crime to the police

(Sourced: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Personal Safety Survey. 2005; NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics; NSW Rape Crisis Centre)

Supporting someone who has experienced sexual assault

If you have a friend or family member that has experienced sexual assault, it can be difficult to know how best to provide support. Don't be afraid to offer help and referral information. 1800RESPECT has some helpful tips and information on what you can do.

View the Queensland laws around sex and sexual offences.

View the USC Anti-Discrimination and Freedom from Harassment - Governing Policy. USC fosters a culture of safety and respect for all students and staff. This outlines the University’s policy and procedures relating to matters of sexual harassment.

View the USC Student Charter, which outlines the mutual expectations between the University and the student body.

Want to get involved in USC or other initiatives to address sexual violence. Here are some campaigns you make interested in:

Respect Now Always

If you’re still struggling with consent, just imagine, instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea.

Copyright 2015 Emmeline May (rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com) and Blue Seat Studios Used with permission by Queensland Sexual Assault Network.

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