It was discovered last week that University of Sydney’s two main support hotlines for student survivors of sexual assault have not been working. The discovery was made after a person seeking support was unable to make contact.
Those who called the Student Liaison Officer hotline were given a message that the hotline was “temporarily out of service”. In addition to this, the 1800 SYDHLP hotline has been automatically re-routing callers to the NSW Rape Crisis Centre during business hours instead of being answered by staff.
While the hotlines have now been fixed, it’s not clear how long they were down for or how many students who attempted to make contact and were left abandoned.
Stress and desolation are common feelings for students who are seeking support after a traumatic sexual experience. By creating inoperative hotlines USyd is exacerbating survivors’ trauma.
This is an impact that can last a lifetime. The first response that a survivor of sexual assault receives often dictates how they will navigate their recovery. If that response happens to be white noise on the other end of the phone line, it may discourage the student from seeking any help altogether. Without help, student survivors are much more vulnerable to mental illness. How will students suffering from trauma reach their academic potential, attain their degrees, and regain a sense of trust in their everyday interactions?
It is clear that USyd lacks a coordinated and proactive response to sexual assault which is enabling the problem to persist.
Even when the University does endeavor to provide support, these services are drastically understaffed, underfunded and lack counselling staff with trauma specialist training.
USyd has millions upon millions to spend on new buildings, yet fails to sufficiently resource support services. The University has twisted priorities that ultimately leave survivors in the lurch.
This comes off the back of Universities Australia abolishing the National Sexual Assault University Hotline which was run by Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia. Last year the AHRC ‘Change the Course’ report found that 6.9% of university students were sexually assaulted on at least one occasion in 2015 or 2016.
If you have any concerns about University of Sydney support services please email me at email@example.com. To get involved in the campaign against sexual assault, contact the Women’s Officers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or email@example.com.
Nina Dillon Britton and Yuxuan Yang
Hello again dear readers! If you’re like me and cramming for exams you probably have other things you need/prefer to be doing. So I’ll keep this short.
At the moment, I’m putting together a video to help promote the SRC to the vast majority of students who don’t bother to read Office Bearer reports (sad!) that we’ll be using over the rest of the year. I’m also working on revamping our website along with the Publications Managers, to bring it into this decade.
Other than that, budget preparations are underway, and we’re hoping to find out what the University has decided we’ll get in our cut of SSAF soon. Though who knows when we’ll know, these things just seem to go into the Uni admin abyss.
This is obviously the pointy end of the semester and it’s important to take care of yourself. By that I don’t mean use the colouring-in corner that will probably soon be set up in Fisher Library, but actually using the resources that can meaningfully improve your time at uni. It’s not too late to have special accommodations made for your assignments and exams through Disability Services. If you need help navigating that, book an appointment with an SRC caseworker so they can walk you through it by calling:
Good luck with your assignments and exams! And as always, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jazzlyn Breen and Ray Prout
The queer action collective this semester has had a much less controversial first sem than last year—our main drama’s have come from right wing Zionists doxing us, which we take as a sign that we are doing a good job. We have organised frequent contingents to rallies, providing support to campaigns against all the terrible things capitalists have been doing to the world. We ran a film screening of ‘riot’ which was a massive success because people actually turned up. Queer Honi went off, even though both the queer officers almost died from lack of sleep (psa, 12 coffees in one night will make your nose bleed). After a well-deserved hibernation period we are back into the swing of things, planning attending conferences later on this semester, as well as lots of other fun and controversial activities. I’ve run out of things to say so here is a list of interesting facts.
- Israel is a terrorist state occupying Palestinian land.
- White Australia has a black history, present and future.
- The choice to have an abortion is a decision that should be made by an individual, not the state.
- Gender equality will not be achieved through more female CEOs.
- Climate change is real and it will impact you.
- We need to stop Adani.
- No human is illegal.
- Everyone deserves the right to seek asylum.
- Borders are fake.
- The University of Sydney invests in arms companies.
- 1% of the populations own half the world’s wealth. They don’t have your best interest at heart.
- Ethical consumption isn’t the way to save the world.
- You can’t buy, work or vote your way out of capitalism.
- Communism will win.
Tanushri Saha, Nischeta Velu, Tanya Ali and Geneve Bullo
The last few weeks saw all our creative efforts, energy and focus being dedicated towards creating a beautiful yet stimulating edition of this year’s ACAR Honi. A shout out to all the talented writers and artists who contributed, and to the editors who bought the whole thing to life. The launch party for 2018 ACAR Honi was a huge success, and it was warming to witness performances as diverse as poetry, music and comedy. A perfect culmination of everything ACAR stands for, bringing people together to celebrate the success. Taking over Hermann’s bar and turning the stage into a perfect backdrop embellished with artworks, this event reminded us of the richness of our diverse experiences, and the importance of having such spaces to chat, laugh and feel warm in the presence of other people of colour. Overall each of us couldn’t have hoped for a better week, or better people to have celebrated it with.