73% of LGBTQ+ students at the University of York have been sexually harassed, with 50% of contributors stating that they have been sexually assaulted, a landmark survey on sexual assault and harassment by The Last Taboo has found.
Despite these figures, 68% of participants would not feel comfortable reporting an assault or harassment to the University, with 73% not knowing how to do this at all.
One student said: “As someone who was raped in university halls, it’s horrible to feel that you can’t report this to the University”.
The University of York launched the Report and Support tool, a website which students can use to anonymously report misconduct, in September 2020.
However, 83% of respondents to an Instagram story aimed at the general student population posted by The Last Taboo said they did not know how to report sexual assault and harassment.
Matt Rogan and Dan Loyd, YUSU’s LGBTQ+ Officers, told Vision: “The University needs to take these statistics into account when highlighting support services. Currently, the Uni’s page on sexual violence does not list any support services for LGBTQ+ individuals.”
The report also raises significant questions regarding LGBTQ+ stereotypes and the detrimental effect they have upon general perceptions of sexual assault and harassment.
The report argues that LGBTQ+ students feel their experiences of sexual assault and harassment may not be taken seriously due to the hypersexual stereotype the community face, and a general lack of pre-existing education around consent.
One student said: “The struggle of gay individuals being harassed by the same gender – it’s not as widely recognised due to that being the ‘preferred’ gender for that individual”.
Rogan and Loyd told Vision: “We are aware this is not a cisheteronormative issue, however we are still shocked to see this affects a large proportion of members in our community.”
Kelly Balmer and Imogen Horrocks, the co-founders of The Last Taboo and upcoming YUSU Community and Wellbeing Officer and Women’s Officer, told Vision that they are recommending “sex education inclusive for all genders”, alongside “looking at developing more specific support for BAME, LGBTQ+, and self-identifying men” through an expansion of the Sexual Violence Liaison Officer positions.
In response to this report, a spokesman from the University of York has told York Vision:
“We welcome the report, which is being presented to our Student Life Committee next week for consideration.
“The University takes the issue of sexual violence and harassment extremely seriously, but it would be inappropriate to comment in detail until colleagues have had an opportunity to read the report in full and consider its findings.
“We have a number of measures in place already to support students, including our Sexual Violence Liaison Offers, who offer one-to-one practical and emotional support, and advice about internal and external support services.”