Half of female students subjected to unwanted sexual touching, poll finds

The Telegraph is reporting that half of young women at university have been the victim of unwanted sexual touching, the largest poll of its kind has found.

A survey of 5,649 British undergraduates found that only a quarter of those who were raped went on to report it. 16 per cent of female students said they have been pressured into a sexual act, compared to six year cent of their male peers.

The poll, conducted by the sexual health charity Brook, asked students a series of questions about how much sexual harassment they have been exposed to.

The majority of students said they had been subjected unwanted sexual advances, ranging from cat-calling to being forced into having sex. However, only eight per cent of students who were sexually harassed went on to report it.

Helen Marshall, chief executive of Brook, said the survey highlights the importance of high quality relationships and sex education (RSE) in schools and universities.

“We are failing our young people if they don’t know that the law protects them from the unwanted behaviours they are experiencing,” she said.

More than half of those who told the survey they had experienced unwanted sexual behaviour said it was from another student. Around a third of the incidents took place on campus.

When it came to consent, only 52 per cent of the respondents understood it is not possible to give consent if you are drunk.

Universities UK, the vice-Chancellors membership organisation, is due to publish recommendations this spring on how institutions can improve their efforts to tackle sexual harassment.

Read more Half of female students subjected to unwanted sexual touching, poll finds 

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