Did you know that 1 in 7 female students have been the victim of sexual assault or serious violence?
This alarming statistic shows that something needs to change.
Sexual assault and rape does happen on campus. It is important that we all know what it means to consent in sexual activity, respect personal boundaries, and the right of every individual to say ‘no’. At UWTSD, we believe that incorporating consent into everyday conversations is a good way to combat this troubling statistic. Not everybody will have had the opportunity to engage in discussions about sex and consent, and we want you to help us normalise the conversation.
What is consent?
Sexual consent is the permission given by individuals to take part in sexual activity. It is active, positive and affirmative, and needs to be given by both parties.
Consent can be withdrawn at any time, and it is vital that we respect people’s rights to change their minds. It is also not indefinite. Having consensual sex once does not necessarily mean that you will have permission next time.
Sexual activity without consent is rape or sexual assault and is illegal. Make sure that your partner willingly agrees to have sex or engage in sexual activity with you. It really matters.
How do I know that I have consent?
Laci Green gives an excellent insight into what consent looks like.
Remember that consent requires capacity and cannot legally be given if the person is intoxicated in any way. Consent can also not be given if power-dynamics are a contributing factor. For example, if your employer said to you that you could keep your job if you had sex with them, you are not free to make that decision. It is sexual harassment, and your employer is breaking the law.
Consent is simple, like offering somebody a cup of tea.
What if something happens to me?
If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, you can seek help by;
- Accessing support from the Counselling Service on your campus
- Accessing support from New Pathways, who can offer different rape crisis and sexual abuse support services, including forensic medical examinations, counselling services, police interview preparation and further information and support
- Calling the police to report the assault. Dial 999 if it’s an emergency, or 101 if it’s not an emergency but you want to report a crime
Remember that the Law is clear; having sex or engaging in any sexual activity without consent is illegal, and only the perpetrator can be blamed. Help us to start conversations and create a social and educational environment where everybody feels safe and happy. We want to build a community of students and staff who respect each other, and there’s a role for everybody in that.