The Government’s “Call It Out” Campaign and What It Means For Australian Universities

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A new ad has surfaced on televisions as the Australian government rolls out the Call It Out campaign. The new ad falls under the government’s Respect Women campaign, which began in 2016.

The ad depicts a group of men sitting together when one man receives a phone call, presumably from his female partner, to which he speaks down to her, telling her “I told you don’t speak when I’m speaking” and “Seriously, do you practice being this stupid?” The surrounding men respond by criticising and shaming the man, stating “Do you think that’s funny? Because that’s not funny mate,” with the tagline being “Respect Women.”

Whilst the purpose of the ad is not a new one, it is the first of its kind to reach Australian television, originating in the UK through the Liverpool Guild Of Students in 2015.

It comes following the increase of media attention towards women worldwide who have turned to social media to share their own experiences of sexual and verbal harassment in schooling, workplace and personal environments.

With previous campaigns such as Time’s Up and the Me Too movement, women now more than ever are feeling empowered to share their negative experiences and are given the opportunity to seek external help and support from other women and professional services.

Within a university setting, harassment for some is a daily occurrence.

A 2017 report by the Australian Human Rights Commission revealed one in five students have been sexually harassed in a university campus, with 51 percent of respondents knowing the perpetrators.

End Rape On Campus Australia (EROC) is a non-for-profit independent organisation that is working to provide support for student campaigns against sexual assault and assisting students to report harassment and assault to their universities.

In 2018, they released the Red Zone Report, a 200-page document outlining detailed accounts of hazing, sexual assault and harassment on university residential colleges in Australia.

The report noted that accounts of harassment and assault are particularly heightened during the O Week period in which students are introduced to university and college-style living for the first time.

 

Since releasing the report, EROC has made a series of recommendations for Australian Universities in order to combat the increasing prevalence of experiences similar to Murphy’s.

These include increasing the awareness of counselling services offered on-campus for students, ensuring counselling staff are fully trained in trauma-specialist counselling, ensuring students are aware of academic, legal, financial and housing support for those in need and contacting student representative bodies to create forums for students wanting to debrief the results of the report.

To find out where your university stands amongst the issue, click here.

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