Universities around Australia have begun to implement policies to tackle an alleged rape crisis on campuses. Their peak body Universities Australia in July this year released guidelines designed to assist universities respond to sexual assault and harassment incidents on campus. These guidelines were in response to an Australian Human Rights Commission report in August last year which alleged that 51% of students at Australian universities were sexually harassed on campus and 6.9% percent of students were victims of sexual assault.
The Human Rights Commission report was spun in the mainstream media as a shocking indictment of how prevalent rape culture was on our university campuses and the poor attitudes young men have towards respecting women. One of the few mainstream commentators who went against this narrative was former sex therapist and men’s right’s advocate Bettina Arndt. She interpreted the reports findings in an op-ed in the Australian as “Great news – no rape crisis on our campuses“.
Arndt wrote that the survey which the report was based on had a 9.7% response rate and was completed by those “who were motivated to respond”. Only 1.6% percent of students reported being sexually assaulted in years 2015 and 2016 which included incidents such as being “tricked into sexual acts against their will” and incidents which didn’t even occur on campus. Most students then didn’t go onto reporting alleged sexual assaults either because they didn’t feel it was serious enough (40 per cent), or because they did not need any help (40 per cent).
Incidents of sexual harassment reported could include things as innocuous as staring and sexual jokes or comments. What was most disturbing is the survey was partly funded by the Hunting Ground Project to the tune of $150,000 whose Hunting Ground documentary movie in the United States has been accused by University administrators of inaccuracies and distortions to fit its rape culture feminist narrative.
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has also found universities to be about 100 times safer place for women to be than the general community.
A year after Arndt picked apart this report the rape crisis on Australian university campuses narrative is still as strong as ever. The National Union of Students’ Women’s Department organised a national rally against sexual violence at universities on August 1 with the slogan “End Rape on Campus”.
Determined to counter the rape crisis narrative Bettina Arndt is taking her research on the issue directly to where it is needed most, on university campuses. By lying about the safety of our universities for young women risks deterring overseas families from sending their daughters to study in this country. It also makes young men vulnerable to fake rape accusations which has occurred to male university students overseas, almost destroying their lives and taking in same cases years to clear their name.
Arndt has been sending expressions of interest to university clubs around Australia about sponsoring a talk by her on the topic of the campus rape crisis. So far two clubs have taken her up on this offer. Melbourne’s La Trobe University Liberal Club and the University of Sydney Liberal Club.
La Trobe University has quickly gained a reputation as one of Australia’s most left wing universities. It was where the Safe Schools program was born designed by Marxist academic Roz Ward. The Institute of Public Affairs’ Free Speech on Campus Audit awarded La Trobe a ‘Red’ ranking for its policies that forbid ‘unintentional… offence’ and language that causes ’emotional injury’.
With that reputation La Trobe initially denied its Liberal Club a room to hold Arndt’s talk which was scheduled for August 14 with two administrators claiming Arndt’s views did not align with the university’s campaign against sexual violence. Following media scrunity and lobbying from Arndt herself La Trobe changed its position telling the Liberal Club the talk could be held but the club would have to pay the costs of any extra security that might be needed.
The National Union of Students Women’s Department and the local Socialist Alternative had planned to protest Arndt’s talk holding a “rally against sexism and bigotry”. The University had promised to provide counseling if students are upset by the content of the talk. It is quite ironic that people who are campaigning against the harassment and intimidation of women at universities are doing this exact thing to Ardnt, a strong independent female with opinions.
Eventually La Trobe caved as well on charging the Liberal Club for security with administrators stating they would cover the costs of security on campus needed for the talk with a spokesperson telling The Australian “We welcome free speech and the event will go ahead”.
Because of La Trobe administrators took so long to arrive the the appropriate decision the talk has had to be rescheduled for September 6. But the fact that the talk has been allowed to proceed with the organisers not being burdened with punitive security expenses is a big win for free speech on campus in Australia at one of the nation’s most left wing universities.
Bettina Arndt’s other scheduled talk at the University of Sydney will take place on September 11. So far there has been no reported issues with the university administrators. Arndt has been promoting her university tour as well as debunking the rape crisis narrative in the mainstream media appearing on Radio 2GB and Sky News.
If Arndt’s two scheduled talks are a success with then it may encourage other university clubs to take her up on the offer to speak at their campus and provide further opportunities for university students to hear the facts on the issue rather than just being feed the narrative through these new university consent and respect programs. Arndt has set up a GoFundMe campaign to assist university clubs sponsoring her to talk and deal with any further roadblocks they may encounter in the process.
Arndt is also holding other presentations on men’s issues in the near future including two in Perth with one on men’s health the other on male victims of domestic violence. Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm who has long been critical of the domestic violence industry that has emerged from government funding, and who is now involved in a legal battle with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young over his criticism of her on the issue is hosting Arndt at Parliament House on August 21.
Countering the current feminist narrative on any aspect of gender relations is a challenge, Arndt has proven herself throughout the years undeterred by the task, she just needs others to join her and be willing to stop up to the current political consensus and intimidation.