How widespread is violence against women at university?

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Results from the NUS Survey Hidden Marks, which was published in 2010, indicate that 1 in 7 women students (14%) has been the victim of serious sexual assault or serious physical violence whilst at university or college. The survey of 2,000 women students also found that:

  • 12% have been stalked while at university or college;
  • In 60% of these cases of sexual assault or stalking, the perpetrator was also a student;
  • Only 4% of women students who have been seriously sexually assaulted have reported it to their institution;
  • Only 10% of women students who have been seriously sexually assaulted have reported it to the police;
  • Of those who did not report serious sexual assault to the police, 50% said it was because they felt ashamed or embarrassed, and 43% because thought they would be blamed for what happened.

The Telgraph newspaper commissioned a survey of female undergraduates in 2015.  34% of the women polled indicated they had experienced some form of assault or abuse whilst at university. 43% of these women did not report their ordeal, even to friends or family.

In order to gauge the extent of discrimination, violence and abuse faced by young Christian women, Soul Action, a partnership between Tearfund and Soul Survivor, surveyed delegates at the Christian conference Momentum about their experiences. In 2015, more than half of the respondents had experienced unwanted sexual touching, 30% agreed or strongly agreed that they experienced fear of their partner in a relationship and 42% had been pressured to perform sexual acts they did not want to by a partner.


If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this post and it is safe for you to seek support or advice, you can call the National Domestic Violence helpline (which is open twenty four hours a day and free to phone) on 0808 2000 247. You can also access information and services through the Rape Crisis website.

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