Sexual harassment and gender violence in UK universities largely remain hidden. (File photo by Getty Images)

A prominent British newspaper says it has received accounts from more than 100 women, who said they had been sexually abused by university staff in the United Kingdom.
The Guardian reported on Friday it has received 100 stories of verbal bullying, serial harassment, sexual assault and rape through a questionnaire it posted on its website in late August.
The questionnaire asked UK university students and staff about their concerns about sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior involving staff and students at their university.
The daily wrote that the reports, which have taken place at a variety of institutions across the UK, including prestigious and high-ranking ones, “expose an alarming pattern of abuse and harassment in British universities, which remains largely hidden.”
The majority of cases involve senior male academics, often professors, harassing and abusing younger female PhD students whose work they supervise, the Guardian wrote.  It said there were also accounts from undergraduates and female academics, many of whom said they had not even made a complaint because they feared it would jeopardize their academic careers.
Some others, who filed a lawsuit said they “felt isolated and unprotected, while the more powerful men they accused appeared to be untouchable,” according to the newspaper.
Other respondents said perpetrators were allowed to remain in their post or moved to other institutions where they could offend again.
One female academic, who made a complaint of sexual harassment against a more senior male colleague, said her institution accused her of making false allegation and suspended her for three months.

UK female students and academics share with The Guardian stories of sexual harassment in UK universities. (File photo)

In another statement, a woman said after she complained to her institution about being sexually assaulted by a senior male colleague, she “was so traumatized and ashamed” by having to give details of her experience.
“I was so traumatized and ashamed, not only by the assault but by having to give details of the assault to two men (one of whom seemed to regard me as a waste of space) that I did not take my complaint to the next formal level,” said the victim.
According to the British coalition of End Violence against Women (EVAW), UK universities are legally obliged under human rights and equality laws to protect female students from sexual assault and other forms of violence.
Rachel Krys, the co-director of the coalition called for urgent action to both prevent senior male academics abusing positions of power and develop better processes to bring them to account in the universities.
“We know this is happening to young women at universities across the country and they continue to be failed by the institutions in which they put their trust,” Krys said.
She said that the universities “need to investigate properly when there is an allegation of abuse, and act quickly to protect all women from these perpetrators.”
Lawyers, academics and campaigners accuse universities of prioritizing their own reputations in an increasingly competitive higher education marketplace over their duty of care to vulnerable students.