1 in 20 students report having been raped

“Student words on sexual and gender-based violence”: this is the title of a major survey published today. And its findings drive the point home about violence in higher education, following the release of a recent study on LGBTQIphobia.

Between April 29, 2019 and December 31, 2019, the Student Observatory on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Higher Education carried out a huge survey, published Monday, October 12, 2020, which documents sexual violence in the student community. Via an online questionnaire, students from around fifty universities, prepas, grandes écoles, BTS and DUT, mostly women (76%), answered the various questions. Almost 10,381 responses were identified. "Even if the chosen method was designed and validated by an inter-professional working group, this survey remains above all a student initiative", says the report. Here is what we learn there.

1 in 20 female students raped

The report reveals that one in twenty female students has been raped and one in ten female students has been sexually abused. Most often, violence is committed by male students, in particular, acts of physical violence: "2 out of 3 facts are committed by male students with regard to rape and non-alcoholic sexual violence, specifies the study. 3 in 4 facts are committed by male students when it comes to unwanted physical contact or sexual violence in an alcoholic context. Acts of physical violence are committed in the evening or on weekends off campus: this is the case for 56% of rapes, 76% of sexual violence under the influence of alcohol, 51% of sexual violence without control. alcohol and 73% unwanted physical contact ". The group effect (20%), impunity (18%), excessive alcohol consumption (18%) and lack of education among students (18%) are the causes of violence most often mentioned in the question sheet.

The traumas generated

These attacks have a major psychological cost, explains the study, accompanied by an impact "on relationships and on sentimental life", even more than on academic results. Note that only 11% of respondents indicate "having informed their establishment of the facts suffered or observed." The reasons for this silence? Students believe that "It's no use" (22% of verbatims), or that their denunciation "is not taken seriously" (9% of verbatims).

What students are asking for

In addition to the various questions, the form proposed solutions to stop the violence. Very strong demand from students: "massive communication on the subject of sexual and gender-based violence for the purpose of education and awareness." They also claim "a clear and concrete commitment from establishments on these subjects" as well as "direct and concrete link between students and their institutions."

This study refers to the work of Caélif (a collective of LGBTQI + associations) which, on September 28, 2020, unveiled the results of a survey on the theme of violence in French higher education. Its results show that LGBTQI + students are under pressure, and even violence, including during class, and that a majority of them do not trust their administration to hear it. In-depth work remains to be done, so that the superior becomes a safe environment for students.