MAKE A STAND AGAINST HARASSMENT
In a survey by NUS, over a quarter of students have said they experience sexual harassment at university. We’re launching our consent campaign to make people think twice about behaviour that is unacceptable and encourage a sex-positive atmosphere in all of our venues. This is a result of several years of increased campaigning around sexual harassment by students’ unions and women’s groups around the country, and statistics like the NUS survey highlighting that this is still very much an everyday problem.
We’re teaming up with volunteer group Sexpression to provide free safer sex products and sex-positive information at the Big Cheese. They’ll also have other fun bits like badges and temporary tattoos with consent slogans on hand – we want to normalise a culture of consent at our events and make sure everyone is talking about it!
IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE, REPORT IT
You have the right to have fun and feel safe regardless of what you’re wearing, what you’ve had to drink, or how much you flirted with someone earlier in the night. As a result of new internal policy put in place last year, all of our bars and house staff are trained in responding to complaints of harassment, and will treat any complaints with the utmost seriousness. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable at any stage of the night, speak to a member of staff and the person in question will be escorted out immediately, no questions asked. You can also make an anonymous complaint on our website if you don’t want to report it.
Too often, we brush off incidents of sexual harassment as a ‘normal’ part of a night out, because the sad reality is you’ve often seen or experienced them many times before. It is not normal for people you don’t know to touch you on the dance floor or catcall you on the street. It’s harassment, and we’re calling it out.
WHEN HARASSMENT HAPPENS
Sexual harassment can come from strangers on a night out, but it can also often come from people you know. It’s not always intended to be malicious – it can often be a product of people not realising the impact of their actions – but that doesn’t make it any less harmful. Some examples of sexual harassment include inappropriate gestures or comments made to or about you, comments about your appearance, or being touched in any way you don’t consent to.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
One thing you can do to stop this is to always point out to your friends that it’s not funny to joke about other people’s appearance, sexual conduct, or any non-consensual sexual gestures. You should also be aware of what’s going on around you when you’re out – if you see a situation where you think someone might be uncomfortable, ask them if they’re okay. You can always use an inconspicuous question which gets them some space – “Do you want to get some fresh air? It’s really hot in here!”
“If you want to have sex with 1 person, great. If you want to have sex with 100 people, great. If you don’t want to have sex with anyone, great. It’s a personal call, varying from person to person, and it’s no one else’s business. It’s subjective. But consent isn’t. Whatever your number of partners, repeatedly checking that those involved are comfortable and happy with the situation means an enjoyable experience for everyone. Sex is great. Consent is mandatory.”
Jess Husbands, 2016/17 Vice President Societies & Activites
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