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Editor's Blog

AHRC Joint Statement: Student Media Editors

Content warning: mentions of sexual assault, institutional betrayal and irresponsibility and the AHRC survey.

We know that there is a history of sexual assault on our university campuses. We know that our administrations continue to silence survivors and allow perpetrators to walk freely around our campuses. We know that the mainstream media continues to misrepresent student experiences and deny us a platform to have our voices heard.

The AHRC survey is not the source of this information. We know this as survivors, students, supporters and friends. We also know this as editors. In our role, we act as the first point of contact for many survivors; those wishing to share their experiences, call their administration to account, and challenge the often damaging norms that govern our campuses.

This aspect of our role has never been more important. Following the release of the AHRC survey, our respective student associations and women’s collectives will be demanding better from our administrations. We understand that we need to support our fellow student leaders in making these demands.

Therefore, we, as the editors of the student media, make this pledge.

We pledge to support survivors. We are often the first point of contact for survivors wishing to share their experiences. We understand that we play an imperative role in the process of ensuring that survivors feel safe and supported. We will act respectfully, communicate fully and openly with survivors, and ensure that their agency is maintained. If the survivor wishes, we will publish pieces anonymously and without identifying details. We will never give out their details to university administrations, to the mainstream media, or to any other party.

We pledge to hold our administrations to account. If the results of the AHRC survey tell us anything, it is that our universities are not doing enough to support survivors and potential survivors. Sexual assaults are unreported because students do not feel safe making disclosures. Information provided by the administrations is either opaque or non-existent. Perpetrators are not held responsible.  A quick look into the archive of any student publication proves this to be true. We will hold our administrations to account – through factual reporting and honest opinion – and demand better. 

We pledge to elevate student voices in discussions regarding sexual assault on campus. We’ve seen countless reports from mainstream media in the four weeks since the release of the AHRC survey. But there is one key thing missing from this reportage: survivors’ voices. We know that students are underrepresented in discussions regarding the issues that affect us. We hoped that this would change in the reportage of the survey. It hasn’t. As the editors of student media publications, we will elevate survivors’ voices in discussions around sexual assault on campus and we challenge the editors of the mainstream media to do the same.

We know that there is a history of sexual assault on our university campuses. We demand better from our administrations. We demand better from our student bodies. We demand better from the mainstream media.

To any student reading this right now wishing to share their experience, please know that we believe you and we stand with you. We will do everything in our capacity as editors to provide you with a platform where you feel safe and supported. Your voice is important.

Together, we will break the silence.

Signed,

Editors of Woroni (Australian National University)

Editors of Bossy (Australian National University)

Editors of ShOUT (Australian National University)

Editors of Grapeshot (Macquarie University)

Editors of Curieux (University of Canberra)

Editors of Catalyst (RMIT University)

Editors of Empire Times (Flinders University)

Editors of W’SUP (Western Sydney University)