For many people moving to university is their first time living independently.
The excitement of this new experience, meeting new people, being away from home and not having to answer to anyone tend to be the main things that come to mind when you arrive at uni, however your safety is extremely important.
The university experience should be about self-exploration and enjoying this time in your life, however, there is still a great need for awareness around your personal and sexual safety, especially regarding consent.
Research completed by Revolt Sexual Assault and The Student Room highlights that students need to take their safety seriously at university.
Sexual violence can include groping, harassment, unwanted touching, coercion, sexual assault, and rape. Knowing the difference between an incident and 'a joke' exchange can be unclear to some people but it's important to report it if/when you feel it isn't ok. Out of 4,500 students, 62% of these experienced sexual violence at university and shockingly only 1 in 10 students had reported their experience to the university or the police.
Making yourself aware of the support services on campus is essential. Usually, in Welcome you are provided with an overload of information, however make sure you take notice of information around Resident Advisers, Campus Support and Student Services. If you feel uncomfortable about an experience you have had, or just as if you need to talk to someone, then make sure you do. Likewise, if you are having consensual sex, make sure it is safe sex.
Safety > everything
Being safe on campus and feeling safe is very important. There are a few simple things that you can do to help yourself. Nobody should experience sexual violence at university, especially when you should be having an amazing time and we want to help to prevent that! Whenever in doubt, remember these:
- Make yourself aware of campus security and how to get in touch with them.
- Never walk alone, especially at night. Make sure you're always part of a group as you have safety in numbers.
- If you experience something at a social event, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible and make security aware.
- Understand the meaning of consent; if you don't want to do anything or something doesn't feel right then don't do it. No matter how intoxicated you are or how much you know the person, you can always say no.
- Talk to yourself exactly like you would a friend. If they experienced this, you would tell them to report it and that it wasn't their fault, so now is a time to take your own advice.
It's important to make sure you are being and feel safe on or around campus. There are people out there who can help you if you are ever worried or have any issues, so always speak to someone.
You are not alone.