Words || Maia Bilyk, Mshari Alsayyari, Tarun Freestone & Taylor Cohen
Closed social media group, ‘Village Party Central 2016’ had over 900 members who contributed, followed and participated in ‘frat culture’ on campus.
Images of individuals participating in sexual misconduct were uploaded with the status ‘NTV’ or Name That Villager. Members would then comment on the posts in an attempt to either identify or harass the individuals in the photographs. Some videos contained footage of students participating in sexual acts, public urination and nudity.
A comment by one member under a photo of two females engaging in sexual activity wrote ‘she’s tall and frothy alright’.
Psychologist from campus wellbeing Benjamin L. Wilkes said, ‘Whenever someone feels targeted, especially in a negative way, they start to question their own self-identity and also their rights. This can impact on how they interact with others but more so impact on the type of environments and activities they expose themselves to.’
Some of the images contain photos of individuals who are not group members and therefore unaware that such content exists.
There are images and comments that have been reported and have consequently been removed by Facebook administration signalling that there are individuals who feel that they are being harassed, and their privacy has been violated.
Issues and Media Manager from Macquarie University Anna Garcia-Loyola said, ‘We are rigorously investigating the matter in accordance with University policies and procedures. We remain committed to providing our students and staff with a safe study and work environment underpinned by values of dignity, respect and inclusion free from all forms of harassment.’
When the Macquarie University Village was contacted to make a comment on the Facebook page, the name was changed from ‘Village Party Central 2016’ to ‘Party Central 2016’, which was shortly deleted thereafter.
The Macquarie University Village is heavily involved in hosting events as a way to attract students to the accommodation, however, it is believed that it has contributed to a sexual harassment and bullying culture at Macquarie University.
A Macquarie University Village resident Sara Motawi said, ‘I’ve seen some friends holding back and shying from certain parties because they wouldn’t want to be exposed in that way. It’s pretty humiliating, especially for new students.’
If you are a victim, have been affected or know someone who has been affected by sexual abuse, sexual harassment and or bullying, please contact Beyond Blue on 9810 6100, Life Line on 13 11 14 or if you are a student contact Macquarie University Campus Wellbeing 02 9850 7497.