Today I am going to write about a matter of great concern to me, and that is the issue of interpersonal violence, sexual harassment and assault at our university.
This week is Pledge Week, which is a campaign that aims to stamp out these unacceptable attitudes and behaviours. It is spearheaded by the ANU Women's Department each year.
As I said at the beginning of this academic year at the Commencement Ceremony, and I have said it again at the screening of the film The Hunting Ground - sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse or any unwanted sexual attention has no place at this University, our university. It will never be tolerated.
Throughout the week you have the opportunity to join me and other members of the ANU community as we sign the ANU Pledge and promise to make the campus a safe place for everyone.
From Monday until Thursday this week, there will be an opportunity to learn about the pledge from ANU Women's Department members, and show your commitment to its tenets by signing the Pledge banner, between 12pm and 2pm in Union Court.
The words of the pledge are simple:
I believe everyone should be safe from interpersonal violence, sexual harassment and assault.
I believe harassment and assault are the fault of the person using violence, not the person subjected to violence.
I pledge to help my campus be a safe place for everyone.
I urge you to read these words and think about what they mean to you, and what you can do to help people around you to be safe. We all have a role to play in this issue.
At the Commencement Ceremony I took the pledge in front of our community and committed myself to its tenets.
As your Vice-Chancellor I am affirming that the University will not shy away from talking about these issues. We will not pretend that it doesn't happen. We will not stand by and watch this happening to someone else. We will make a stand against it.
We all deserve to be safe and we all deserve to be respected.
If you, or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please read the following material and seek support, http://www.anu.edu.au/students/services/health-wellbeing/sexual-assault-support, or call the ANUSA Women's Officer on 0467 092 808.