In a speech the actress and campaigner addressed the issue of campus sexual assault
Emma Watson has made a powerful speech about sexual assault on university campuses. Speaking on Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Watson addressed the need for colleges to ‘make it clear that the safety of women, minorities and anyone who may be vulnerable, is a right, not a privilege.’
‘What if our experiences at university show us that women don’t belong in leadership?’ she said. ‘What if, as is the case at far too many universities, we are given the message that sexual violence isn’t actually a form of violence?’
‘A university should be a place of refuge that takes action against all forms of violence’ she continued. ‘That’s why we believe that students should leave universities believing in, striving for, and expecting societies of true equality . . . in every sense, and that universities have the power to make that change.’
Emma Watson first addressed the UN General Assembly two years ago to launch her #HeForShe campaign – in a bid to engage men with feminism – and has campaigned tirelessly ever since.
Her speech about campus rape is timely. Earlier this year a campus sexual assault case attracted worldwide attention when Stanford University student Brock Turner was sentenced to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting his unconscious victim. After the verdict his victim addressed the court room with a powerful speech which was later published on Buzzfeed.
Her words were shared around the world and prompted a response from Vice President Joe Biden, who wrote to the victim personally, telling her, ‘I am filled with furious anger, both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken.’
A survey conducted by RAINN in the US showed that 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. The survey also found that more than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October or November, the first semester of college.