This is a very big week for Australian universities. Across the country they have been preparing for a flood of sexual assault victims to come forward following the release of the Human Rights Commission’s trumped-up survey into the rape crisis on our campuses.
Universities embarked on endless virtue-signalling in anticipation of bad tidings. Vice-chancellors boast of spending millions on a 24 hour national hot line, sexual assault counsellors and compulsory sexual consent courses for staff and students.
Then, hilariously, came the release on Tuesday of the survey results and the emperor was revealed quite naked. The survey found only 1.6 per cent of students reported being sexually assaulted on campus in 2015-2016 – even using a broad definition which included being ‘tricked into sexual acts against their will’. Most of these students didn’t report the sexual assaults either because they didn’t feel it was serious enough (40 per cent), or because they did not need any help (another 40 per cent).
All this million dollar survey really came up with is a high incidence of low level harassment – mainly staring and sexual jokes or comments.
So there’s no rape crisis at all, although clearly it’s a good idea for this harassment to be discouraged.
Yet I predict this good news will be totally buried over the course of the next week or so in a massive media blitz, particularly on Fairfax and the ABC, who have bought into the rape crisis narrative. There’ll be horrific stories detailed in the submissions from rape ‘victims’ describing their experiences – all solicited by the Commission.
The problem is they are not rape ‘victims’. They are accusers whose stories have never been tested in court. Mainly date rape cases – ‘he said, she said’ stories revolving around sexual consent. Such cases often don’t result in convictions because juries won’t convict young men of these very serious crimes unless there is clear evidence of their guilt. That’s what led to the whole concocted campaign. Feminists want these young men convicted and are brow-beating universities to side-step the criminal justice system and ensure more males are punished.
According to police reports collected by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, university campuses are roughly 100 times safer than the rest of the community. There were 14 campus sexual assault reports to police between 2012 and 2016 compared to 24,498 across the state.
‘All the official data shows a very low incidence of rapes reported on campuses and although we know rape victims are reluctant to come forward, there’s no logical reason why this would particularly apply to the intelligent, well-educated girls going to universities,’ says Margaret Cunneen SC, who as one of NSW’s most senior crown prosecutors is renowned for securing convictions in rape cases.
I spent last week sending out a series of questions to vice-chancellors across the country asking why they are risking the reputation of Australian universities as a safe place for international students. Why would affluent families in India, China or Malaysia consider sending their daughters to study in such campuses?
Privately university officials will acknowledge they are concerned that this scare campaign may bite the hand that feeds them. Australia’s proportion of full-fee paying foreign students is triple the international average.
Yet publicly they run for cover. It was hilarious reading the weasel words concocted by university media units to try to avoid addressing the issue in their responses to me. Not one responded directly to my questions about the risk to the overseas student market.
‘Our strong safety record is cited by 93 per cent of our international students as a key reason why they chose Australia,’ admitted Belinda Robinson, CEO of Universities Australia but then artfully suggested this was the reason to ‘address unacceptable behaviours head on’. I’m told Robinson has acknowledged to campus officials that they tread a difficult line in sustaining this argument.
Many watching what’s happening are bewildered by our intellectual elite’s capitulation to this feminist propaganda campaign. In the Weekend Australian I wrote about the crisis facing American universities dealing with the dire consequences of a similar scare campaign. Feminist ideologists persuaded Obama to force publicly-funded universities to set up campus tribunals, kangaroo courts which have resulted in large numbers of Federal Court law suits over young men who were unfairly accused of sexual assault and thrown out of university. Facing numerous large legal payouts, campus officials are now pleading with Trump to wind back all this dangerous nonsense. Meanwhile feminist extremists here are pushing our universities to follow the same ludicrous path.
The fear is not only frightening off the families of potential full-fee paying young women who might choose to study here. There’s also the risk we will deter young men nervous they could be falsely accused of such crimes. As I showed in my Oz article nerdy young outsiders are particularly likely to find themselves in this situation – American universities have made large payouts to wrongly accused young Asian men.
Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj, an Indian journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Gururgram, believes that the current rape culture campaign will push Australia further down the preferred list of countries for higher education for Indian parents considering our country for either daughters or sons.
Bhardwaj describes what happened in an Indian city called Rohtak in Haryana which attracted huge publicity a few years ago over alleged sexual attacks on women which ultimately turned out to be false: ‘The media hysteria had a huge impact on the psyche of parents considering choosing the prestigious institute IIM Rohtak for their daughters.’
In 2013 equal numbers of males and females were studying at the Institute but by 2015, there were just 14 women and 150 men.
‘Indian parents will be extremely hesitant of sending their daughters to Australia for higher education if universities claim such high rates of sexual assault,’ says Bhardwaj, adding that ‘parents will also be concerned about sons being at risk of false allegations.’ Her most recent documentary, Martyrs of Marriage, concerns the misuse of dowry laws to persecute men and their families.
‘I know all about how easy it is for men to have their lives ruined by this type of feminist campaign,’ she says.