Words by Ellie Doughty
Under the Sheets, a student-led campaign group at Sussex, has recently launched a survey investigating experiences of sexual violence at Sussex university.
The survey is in response to the recent exacerbation of discussion around sexual violence on campus this term, and aims to gather extensive data on statistics of sexual assault and harassment within the university community.
A survey from 2016 which polled 14,000 university students across the UK found that Sussex was the worst statistically for groping, with 96% of women undergraduates reporting its occurrence during a night out: https://babe.net/2016/11/19/91-per-cent-female-students-groped-nightclub-806.
A study in January of 2019 found that 56% of respondents had experienced some kind of sexual violence, with only 8% reporting to the police or their universities: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/feb/26/more-than-half-of-uk-students-say-they-have-faced-unwanted-sexual-behaviour.
This statistic (from the first survey), as well as others, have circulated widely on social media within the community, and acted somewhat as a catalyst (along with the general progression of social discourse) for further research conducted by The Tab Sussex and Under the Sheets.
Ellie Doughty, one of the campaigners in Under the Sheets, told The Badger that the group is hoping to gain enough data from the survey to present a case to the university regarding increased attention and action on this issue. Time will tell of course if the data is significant enough to ensure this is the case.
The group, currently made up of ten Sussex students, aims to promote and raise awareness surrounding issues of consent, healthy relationships, and sex positive education.
They have historically conducted consent workshops in person, and organised various other events, giveaways and informational stalls on campus. In these COVID times, though, they like all other Sussex societies and groups have had to reframe. Events are now held remotely, and more engagement is being encouraged in the online sphere.
Advertised on the group’s social media platforms, the survey can be found here: https://linktr.ee/Underthesheets.
Picture Credit: Hrachik M