Students at Bristol University are using Snapchat to share their stories of sexual assault. Using the hashtag #RevoltAgainstSexualAssault, 10 women have broadcast videos on the platform to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault at university.
One woman told of how, after a night out, she walked a drunk friend home, before he raped her. He told her: “It's not rape – you want this.” Another said that, since starting at Bristol University, she had been raped three times and sexually assaulted many more.
The project was led by editor of the university’s independent paper and final-year maths student Hannah Price. The use of Snapchat was a deliberate choice, as Price said, “Social media is second nature to millennials. Snapchat is a platform that is led by us. While we've mastered the filters, the media and businesses have been trying to work out a way to utilise the selfie-taking phenomenon. What if it could be used to powerfully humanise and address more serious issues?”
Behind the flower crowns and puppy ears, I watched as the face-tracking software magically boosted their confidence
Many of the survivors covered their faces with emojis to help them speak out with anonymity, a feature Price said was imperative to the project. “There was nervous laughter and a few tears as myself and each student picked out a disguise that both captured and empowered their feelings of discontent, anger and pain,” she said. “However, behind the flower crowns and puppy ears, I watched as the face-tracking software magically boosted their confidence, easing them just enough to find their voice.”
In March, a survey found that sexual assault at UK universities is at an “epidemic level”, although it only took staff-to-student assault into account. Around 11 women are raped every hour and 90 per cent of rapists are known to the survivor.