High numbers of students are experiencing drunken sexual harassment on nights out while at university – yet feel as though they can’t turn to staff for support, according to an alcohol education charity.
Drinkaware interviewed just over 2,000 students to find 54 per cent of females and 14 per cent of males had received inappropriate sexual comments, abuse, or inappropriate sexual touching on a night out in the last 12 months.
46 per cent admitted they do not know their university’s stance on drunken sexual harassment, and only 34 per cent felt very confident their institution would believe them if they reported an incident. Startlingly, only one per cent said they told university authorities, student welfare, or counsellors, adding how they’d rather tell a friend or partner.
Now though, three quarters of respondents say universities should take disciplinary action against perpetrators, with over half (61 per cent) wanting their university to campaign against it. Another 56 per cent say there should be counselling for those affected.
Watch the charity’s latest You Wouldn’t Sober, You Shouldn’t Drunk advert:
CEO of Drinkaware, Elaine Hindal, described how students have told the charity time and again that drunken sexual harassment is a common and unwelcome part of their night out – yet they don’t feel empowered to stand up to it.
She said: “Touching another person in a sexual way without their consent is legally defined as sexual assault. It’s a criminal offence and being drunk is no excuse for it.”
Highlighting how universities are well placed to support students who have experienced unwanted sexual attention – and to campaign against it – Ms Hindal added: “That’s why we’re encouraging universities and young adults to reinforce the message that if a behaviour isn’t acceptable sober, it isn’t acceptable drunk.”
The charity’s research has been revealed on the day it launches its You Wouldn’t Sober, You Shouldn’t Drunk campaign which aims to address sexual harassment – like groping and inappropriate sexual banter – which many young adults say they often experience when out.
Launching in cinemas across the North West of England, the public is being invited to join in with the conversation at #GropeFreeNights.
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