Support & Solidarity

Tomorrow the Australian Human Rights Commission will release its much-anticipated report into sexual assault on university campuses.

This will be a challenging time for many who have been affected by sexual violence and we will need to have some very difficult conversations. Our hope, however, is that these conversations are the next step in changing things for the better.

Our first thoughts are with those who are surviving sexual harassment and sexual violence, and we call on our community to stand with us in solidarity with those students who may endure additional trauma as a result of the increased focus on the issue.

If you have experienced sexual harassment or assault, or you know someone who has, please contact:

000  Emergency services Police, Ambulance, Fire

1800 572 224  National Support hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

1800 806 292  CASA after-hours sexual assault crisis support line

0468 720 668  UMSU Legal Advice line 1–4.30pm Monday to Thursday

You can, of course also contact the University Counselling service Monday to Friday 9am–5pm on 8344 6927 for emotional support. Please note these are not crisis services, and only operate within specific hours. We have prepared a full list of support services that offer assistance online.

In the wake of the release of these results there is an increased likelihood that you may find yourself in a situation where a friend discloses that they are the victim of sexual assault. Please help them find the support they need by encouraging them to contact one of the crisis lines above so that they receive specialised post-trauma counselling and advice.

This is a time where we need to pull together as a community showing support and compassion for those affected by sexual assault and harassment. On Tuesday, 1 August, we stand in solidarity at a candlelight vigil commemorating the experiences of those who have been affected by sexual violence and those who have suffered in the process of speaking out about their experiences.

On Wednesday 2 August, UMSU will be providing an overview analysis of the results, before welcoming you to an open discussion on how we can make our campus a place for all people to feel safe. How can you use your voice as a student to stand up for your rights? How can we hold institutions accountable for their safety record? How do we enact broad cultural change from within our community? What are our responsibilities in regards to looking out for fellow students?

To the survivors out there, regardless whether you reported or not; regardless whether you fought back or not; regardless whether you said ‘no’ or not; regardless of any qualification the world might throw at you – we hear you. We believe you. You are not alone.

Yan Zhuang
UMSU President