As the university year begins, recent reports sadly suggest that many newcomers will experience some form of sexism or sexual harassment during their life at university. Published on Monday, the National Union of Students (NUS) released a report indicating that out of a survey of 2,156 men and women, 37% of women and 12% of men expressed that they had experienced unwanted sexual harassment. Concerns have been raised as the report revealed that a growing "lad culture" appears to be prevalent among campuses across the UK. Such a culture has been described and defined by the NUS as a set of "behaviours and attitudes that "¦ belittle, dismiss, joke about or even seem to condone rape and sexual assault." Toni Pearce, the NUS president has lamented that this issue must be addressed, and he demanded that university authorities must hastily acknowledge what is going on on their campuses and stop "passing the buck."
Several respondents, 57% of which were women, commented upon personal experiences with unwelcome sexual advances and verbal harassment that included sexual comments targeted towards their body. Many reported that jokes regarding rape or assault were commonplace among students, with two-thirds having witnessed it in some form across campus. Another element that has become troubling to many is 60% of students stating they were unaware of any procedures in place at their university for students to report such incidents to. In response to these findings the NUS have planned to assess the impact of this "lad culture" by looking into unions at various universities and also to investigate the measures that are in place by the university for dealing with this issue.