Emma Watson urged world leaders to protect women on college campuses from sexual assault during a stirring speech at the United National General Assembly Tuesday in New York. Watson, who attended Brown University in Rhode Island, said woman are often denied the opportunity to pursue a higher education, and when they can, many schools may be giving out the message "that sexual violence isn’t actually a form of violence," she said.
"As we leave home for the first time to study at the places that we have worked so hard to get, we must not see or experience double standards. We need to see equal respect, leadership, and pay," Watson said. "The university experience must tell women that their brain power is valued, and not just that, that they belong within the leadership of the university itself.”
"When one person’s safety is violated, everyone feels their own safety is violated," she added. "A university should be a place of refuge that takes action against all forms of violence. That’s why, we believe, that students should leave university believing in, striving for, and expecting societies of true equality … in every sense and that universities have the power to be a vital catalyst for that change."
Watson, who became famous as a child actor for her role in the "Harry Potter" movie franchise, is an ambassador for HeForShe, the United Nations Women’s gender-equality movement. Her speech on feminism at the General Assembly in 2014 made headlines for its frank remarks on gender equality.
Watson's speech Tuesday highlighted HeForShe's report on gender equality in worldwide universities, which seeks to close the gender gap in academia and violence on campus.
In the U.S., there are 35 incidents of rape reported each academic year for every 1,000 women attending a college or university, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. In all, about five percent of all women reported being raped in college and in 10 victims of rape and sexual assault said they knew their offender.