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Over half of respondents to survey may have reported experiencing sexual harassment on campus

University capitulates to CASE and publishes survey results


By: Naomidh Plume




The University has released the results of a Sexual Violence and Harassment Survey after being urged by student group CASE (Consent Awareness & Sexual Education).


According to a statement on CASE’s Facebook page, the framing of the survey’s data “raises some question marks.” A spokesperson for the student group wrote that “choosing to cherry-pick favourable statistics only serves the University’s PR department,” rather than confront the issue of abuse on campus.

In response to the question, “Have you witnessed or experienced sexual harassment at the University of Aberdeen?” 72% of respondents answered no, this statistic was then published by the University in a press release on their website. As pointed out by CASE, however, “when posed with a list of concrete experiences (such as groping, catcalling etc.) [...] less than half of student respondents answered ‘None of the above’”.

CASE’s statement continues, “This discrepancy could be due to a number of reasons, such as the vague phrasing of ‘at the University of Aberdeen,’ answering based on past experiences, or a lack of understanding of what is meant by the terms ‘sexual violence’ and ‘sexual harassment’.”

According to the data, 39% of sexual harassment occurred on “night outs,” with 19% taking place at Hillhead.

Out of 1064 students surveyed, 483 responded that they had never experienced sexual harassment. This means that, contrary to the University’s statement, over 50% of respondents had experienced some form of sexual harassment. It remains unclear, however, whether students answered specifically to harassment occurring at the University.


According to the data, 39% of sexual harassment occurred on “night outs,” with 19% taking place at Hillhead.

CASE state that they “look forward to continuing our work to fight sexual violence and harassment on campus, alongside the efforts of AUSA and the University.”

"One in five young women receives unwanted behaviour in her first week at university, and these are very worrying statistics, especially given that we know there is under-reporting of issues.”

The Press & Journal reported that Fiona Drouet, whose teenage daughter took her own life in halls of residence at Aberdeen University in 2016 after suffering abuse at the hands of a former boyfriend, backed CASE’s calls in December to have the University release the results.

The survey was taken in February 2018.

Mrs Drouet said: “I am very saddened to see there are still institutions reluctant to allow transparency of this information.

“We must accept these issues are prevalent across our society and universities are not exempt from that. Indeed, given their demographics, they are at high risk of receiving such reports. Too many female students are suffering the harmful effects of gender-based violence. One in five young women receives unwanted behaviour in her first week at university, and these are very worrying statistics, especially given that we know there is under-reporting of issues.”

“I can’t see any justifiable reason for institutions not to publish such figures.”

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