Youth, Health and Practical Justice: An interdisciplinary conference, UTS, Sydney, Australia. 4-5th December 2016

Dr. Pam Alldred from Brunel University London, is traveling across Australia to present the #USVreact project and collect other experiences related to sexual violence and education.

On the 4th of December she presented during the Sexual Ethics & Education stream her paper:

Reputation and Risk: Tackling Sexual Violence on Campuses in the UK

This paper draws parallels between the well-established feminist critique of the sexual double standards that are still typically applied to girls and boys in the UK and elsewhere regarding sexual behavior, and the repute risk that universities face around the issue of students’ experience of sexual violence. Whereas repute damage can occur for girls who show an active interest in sex, are thought to have had sex (perhaps ‘too readily’, with ‘too many’ or the ‘wrong’ boys or men) or are ridiculed for lesbian lust, such sexual activity is problematized despite no concern being raised over consent, sexual health or violence. Health researchers reliably indicate high chlamydia and HIV infection rates among under 25s but steer clear of the moral terrain, preferring instead to present health education as risk reduction.

Universities can seem more concerned for their reputations than with taking a stand against sexual or other violence, as we saw recently in the UK (The Guardian 26 August 2016; Phipps 18 May 2016), which comes as no surprise given the marketization of Higher Education. In this context, those disclosing sexual violence might risk their reputation (as if it were relevant) as an institution seeks to safeguard its own. We know that universities need to address ‘lad culture’ on campus (Phipps & Young 2015; Jackson et al 2015). This paper reports from a European project to improve the support offered to students who’ve experienced sexual violence, the EU co-funded USV React Project ( highlighting educational interventions with staff and students.


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