The University of Sydney is facing ethical and legal questioning over its poor handling of an incident that saw a female student secretly filmed while having sex.
Earlier in the year a male student admitted to have taken photos of the now 20-year-old girl during consensual intercourse, and showed it to his friends.
While the university undertook an internal investigation, the male student’s punishment, if any, has not been revealed on the grounds of confidentiality.
The female student told Business Insider the action taken by the university is not good enough.
“The issue is a simple one: Sydney University needs to say whether or not it condemns this sort of behaviour. If they do, they need to establish policy and penalties for digital assault,” she said.
Despite involving police and a criminal lawyer, the woman has been told that prosecuting the male student is no longer possible because of restrictions in the state’s laws.
If prosecution is to be taken, the state requires proceedings to commence within six-months of the alleged offence. But because the victim was only alerted of the photo eight months after the incident she has been told legal action against the offender is no longer an option.
Since the incident the female student says: “I continue to be harassed when I am at university. They seem to think it’s somehow my fault that a photograph was taken of me without my knowledge.”
The National Union of Students president Deanna Taylor told ninemsn that university policies need to be revised to respond to such events.
“The response that’s given (by the university)… seems to be quite inadequate,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t address the key issue here, which is sexism and sexual assault on campus.”
A study commissioned by the NUS has found that 67% of female university students have undergone an unwanted sexual experience, but only 3% of those to experience harassment or assault had reported it.
“Six months seems far too brief,” Taylor said. “[Universities] need a formal instrument to answer those questions.”
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