UNI HAZING: ‘It wasn’t really an option to say no’
AN alleged victim of hazing at one of Australia's most prestigious universities has warned the brutal practice will never end unless the colleges that are said to have used it as rite of passage are disbanded.
Kendra Murphy alleges she was raped at St Andrews College at the University of Sydney in 2014.
In an interview with Channel Nine's 60 Minutes Ms Murphy said she blamed the college and the extreme drinking culture it encourages for what allegedly happened to her.
According to Ms Murphy the college didn't contact police in regard to the matter, instead investigating it themselves.
"College is a strange, stand-alone place," she told the program.
"It's not the real world. and it doesn't report to anyone. It makes its own rules.
"In the real world it (institutions taking matters into their own hands) doesn't happen and it shouldn't be allowed to happen in a college."
Ms Murphy told 60 Minutes that after weeks of investigating by the college, the case came to an abrupt end.
"I was sat down by the vice-principal and she said that they're really sorry for what happened to me but the investigation was inconclusive and there wasn't enough evidence to prove either way what happened," she said.
"It tells me that these places are incredibly dangerous because their primary objective is protecting the institution that has lived for 150 years."
Ms Murphy left the University of Sydney but said she is fearful the alleged practice of hazing will continue unabated.
"It's this really bizarre, entrenched culture that the colleges will never get rid of, There can be as much reform as you want but that essence will still be there, and that's what the issue is.
"I think they (the colleges) should be disbanded."
Aria's mother Leanne described the practice as "total intimidation".
Another woman alleged subjected to hazing, former St Mark's College student Aria Kirwan, said she quit Adelaide University last month after being subjected to days of sexually-explicit behaviour and degrading rituals.
Ms Kirwan said she was allegedly force fed food that had been spat on by other students and allegedly forced to take over her top during the college's Orientation Week.
"I felt in that situation like there wasn't really an option to say no," she told the program.
"I felt so intimidated they'd been drinking, you know. I'm a 5'2" 18-year-old, what am I gonna be able to say to them that is gonna make them stop?
"So I just thought, "I just need to do it."
Ms Kirwan also alleged she was forced to watch hardcore pornography, people simulating sex and men walking around naked.
"If that was happening at school people would be expelled. If that was happening in the workplace, you wouldn't have a job. And it's really not OK like that for anyone to pressure you into doing things and to back you into a corner so you feel like you can't really say anything but yes."
Ms Kirwan said she reported the alleged incidents St Mark's College but they did not investigate.
News.com.au reported last week, Stuart Kelly's family believe he was the alleged victim of hazing before he took his own life and want coronial investigation into his death.
Four years earlier, Stuart had lost his older brother, Thomas, in devastating circumstances. The much publicised one-punch attack occurred outside a Kings Cross nightclub and two days later, Thomas's life support would be turned off.
After that Stuart became a vocal advocate of NSW's lockout laws which his parents Kathy and Ralph believe might have made him a target.
Kathy and Ralph visited Stuart after Orientation Week at St Paul's College and realised something bad had happened to their son, perhaps a sexual assault.
"It became really apparent very, very quickly, that something was catastrophically wrong. And I said to Kathy 'We've got to not question him, Get him out of here and home,'" Stuart Kelly told 60 Minutes.
"What did they do to him that evening that changed him? If Stuart was possibly sexually assaulted that night, that's a crime," Kathy Kelly said.
"So, yes, he took his own life, and suicide is not a crime but what precedes it might just be."
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence told 60 Minutes his institution would end the practice of hazing on the back of the Broderick Report into the university's culture.
"I do believe it will lead to real results because I've seen that process in other institutions," he said.
"I'd like to make sure that the issue in the colleges is dealt with once and for all. That's why
the university has been working with the colleges to bring change. If it doesn't bring change, then from the university's point of view all options are on the table.
However Sharna Bremner author of a report The Red Zone on hazing in colleges across Australia warned that will be easier said than done.
"It is a huge problem," she said.
"It's nationwide, it has been going on for decades and it is still going on today.
"They call it tradition. But tradition isn't torture. Tradition isn't a kid that's too scared to leave their room. They are broken. Some of them are completely broken.
"Some of them drop out of their degrees. Some of them self-harm, and as we've heard, some of them will suicide."
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