As freshers week approaches and many new students are starting uni for the first time (or are already there in the US, but enjoying the close of their first few weeks), it is important for everyone to be highly aware of sexual consent and what it means.
Sexual consent, simply put, means that all parties are in agreement before the sexual acts take place. No one is entitled to have sex with anyone no matter what they wear, what they have said in the past, how flirty they are and most importantly, how much they may have had to drink. No one owes anyone sex or any sexual act, end of. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, and it means listening to the person you are with.
However, despite saying that ad naseum, unfortunately rape and assault still happen everyday. And someone being away from home for the first time and unaware of their surroundings may be a very vulnerable target.
In order to keep yourself safe when you're out, here are a few tips:
1) Don't ever leave your drink unattended. Doing so may make it easy for someone to slip something in it.
2) If someone buys you a drink, watch the bartender (or them) pour it. Do not just accept a drink.
3) Never walk around by yourself alone at night. Always be with a group. Take money for a taxi if you must leave early by yourself.
4) Don't leave your friends to fend for themselves on a night, especially if s/he has gotten very drunk. Keep an eye out.
5) Don't go to people's homes you don't know, especially if you are alone or there are just a couple of you.
You should also be aware that rape and assault frequently happen with people you know. This doesn't mean you should be terrified of every new person you're meeting, but listen to your gut and don't be alone in dorm rooms with people the first few times you meet them, especially with alcohol present.
If something does happen to you or someone you know, remember, it is NOT your fault. Please make contact as soon as possible with Rape Crisis England & Wales or Peterborough Rape Crisis. In the US, contact RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) where you will be redirected to a local affiliate organization.
Do not hesitate to call 999 or 911 immediately after an assault, and remember not to wash your clothes or take a shower until you have been examined.
Remember, it is NEVER your fault if you were not consenting.
#ConsentIs is also has a great video to educate yourself and I suggest every student take a look at it: