top of page

“Sex and Respect” in Universities: Reporting SA to AUT


Written by Anonymous | Contributing Writer

TW: Sexual Assault

News Editor’s Preface: The following article is a direct account of one person’s experience reporting sexual assault to AUT. This piece is not meant to be objective, but shows how the process can be re-traumatising for victims from the perspective of one. In 2021, 237 people reported being sexually assaulted at an education facility in Aotearoa. This issue is one where much more progress is needed. Content warning for mentions of sexual assault. 

Consent shouldn’t be that hard of a topic to understand but apparently, it’s a big issue people just don’t seem to get. Consent is not a one-time thing - it is a two-way street. If you are not asking your partner if they are okay throughout sex/kissing/anything ever then I think a class is needed.

The curriculum at high schools is partly to blame. The most memorable moment of my public high school sex education (the big west Auckland one with the black and white uniform) in 2014 was when they gave us leaflets that said “Being gay is a choice”. Even though it has hopefully gotten better since then, consent education is still a huge problem that needs addressing. 

At my last high school, we had a compulsory content class called Sex and Respect in Year 13. They basically told us to always go with “it’s a no if it’s not an enthusiastic yes.” To this day I think “got to listen for that enthusiastic yes” before any sort of sexual encounter I have. However this level of consent education is not at every school, and the current government has no plans to change this. 

I’ve faced my own nasty reality trying to find justice in a world where real people face the consequences of a lack of consent education. 

I've been in and out of touch with AUT regarding a case of sexual harm involving me and another student. After sending them an email going into all the details about the trauma that went on, I got an email saying I did not have sufficient evidence for them to go forward because I didn’t have a security camera in my room when I got sexually assaulted. 

Is AUT really the supportive place we all once thought it was? Why do the lines get so blurred in cases like this? I went to AUT about this because I thought it would be easier than going to the police since this is about a current student. 

I understand that all students have the right to a voice, but I think cases of sexual assault should be addressed differently to other student issues. Why is my sexual assault case being handled the same way a complaint of someone not doing adequate work on a group project would be? 

I’ve essentially been told my right to feel safe on campus means nothing because I don’t have enough evidence. But how many sexual violence cases get shot down due to lack of evidence? Too many. 

I thought since AUT is seen as a progressive university it would be more understanding, but it seems I'm just another statistic of a girl wronged by the system, and it sucks.  

This is not the first time this has happened and surely won’t be the last. How are people ever going to be held accountable for their actions if AUT won’t address the serious lack of support for sexual assault victims? 

Why should people like me be fearful of getting on a train in case another person might be on it? When will it end?  I feel let down by the system. And knowing this isn’t the last time a student will be in this situation has me considering if AUT truly is for the students.

I really just hope the system does get better and that other students do not find themselves in the same position as me and actually do find their peace.


bottom of page