The Red Zone report

An investigation into sexual violence and hazing in Australian university residential colleges

28 Feb 2018

The release of the report coincides with the beginning of Orientation Week at the University of Sydney, known to sexual assault services as the ‘Red Zone’ due to the spike in rates of sexual assault that occur during this one week. Research has found that 1 in 8 sexual assaults at the USyd colleges happen during a single week of the year - O Week.

The report has uncovered dozens of hazing and initiation practices and examples of misogyny, including:

● Recent St Andrew’s College students reporting a practice of male students masturbating into female students’ shampoo, conditioner or body wash so that women unknowingly wash their hair with semen;

● An annual event at St John’s College called ‘the purge’, where students are encouraged to post embarrassing and graphic details online about other students’ sexual activity;

● Vile chants and songs, which are reproduced in the report;

● A practice known as ‘fresher grooming’ where predatory senior male students solicit and sexually rank junior female students, as demonstrated in organised events such as the ‘bait cruise’, ‘fresher five’ and ‘the bone room’.

The report - which contains graphic photos, screenshots and police reports - is co-authored by Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist, Nina Funnell, and End Rape on Campus Ambassador, Anna Hush. It draws together information obtained through freedom of information requests, student interviews, police reports, and academic research.

The report also includes a timeline charting 90 years of media reports of scandals which have plagued the USyd colleges, including abusive, coercive and humiliating rituals dating back to at least the 1930’s.

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