Stand up to stamp out sexual violence

Monash University is giving students and staff the tools they need to confidently call out disrespectful behaviour and help stamp out sexual assault and harassment.

A new bystander training program aims to highlight the importance of taking action when inappropriate behaviour is witnessed and develop the skills to safely intervene.

This program is part of the extensive work Monash has been doing to support Respect. Now. Always. and has been launched to mark the 12 months anniversary of the findings release of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) national survey into university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Monash’s President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO said Monash’s commitment 12 months ago was to respond to the AHRC ten-point plan with meaningful initiatives that would help inform the Monash community about respectful behaviour on and off campuses.

“We know active bystander intervention plays a key role in eliminating sexual assault and harassment. However, often people can recognise bad behaviour, but don’t have the skills to intervene in different situations. This program will help to equip participants with a ‘toolbox’ of strategies that would allow them to confront and respond to disrespectful language and behaviours.”

“It is important that students and staff in our community recognise the role we can all play in intervening and calling out disrespectful behaviour – especially in the area of gender inequality,” Professor Gardner said.

The bystander program will equip the Monash community with the skills to call out disrespectful comments and behaviours when they witness them happening.

Bachelor of Nutrition Science student, Delaram Ansari, has been influential in delivering change at the grassroots level. Working alongside the Respectful Communities Unit and fellow students, Delaram has contributed to the work Monash has done for Respect. Now. Always.

“It’s important students increase their awareness about the issue of sexual assault and sexual violence, identify the support services available, and encourage their friends to report incidents in a confidential manner,” Delaram said.

“It is great to see Monash taking steps to ensure the welfare and security of its students. The new initiatives give students the confidence to look out for their peers and take the lead in stamping out all forms of sexual violence on Campus,” she said.

For more information, please visit Monash University’s Respect. Now. Always. webpage: monash.edu/about/respect-now-always