Amy, Wellbeing Practitioner, talks about how you can get involved to show your support…
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, 6 February- 12 February 2017
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence is happening across the UK. Statistics in the NUS Hidden Marks report show that 1 in 4 students will experience unwanted sexual advances whilst at University, with 1 in 7 reporting that they have experienced a serious physical or sexual assault. That is the equivalent to one person per flat in Halls. More worryingly, the majority of perpetrators are reported to be known to their victim.
All students, of any gender, can be a victim of harassment, sexual advances, sexual assaults and discrimination, just as all students can be responsible for contributing to negative campus culture that normalises sexually inappropriate behaviour
Equally and perhaps more importantly, all students can contribute to positive campus culture and take a stand to say #ITSNOTOK.
Our Student Wellbeing Champions are going to be teaming up with the Sexual Assault and Referral Centre (SARC) to run an awareness event in the Student’s Union on Tuesday 7 February, 14:00 – 16:00. Come and show your support and meet the people who provide specialist support to students who have experienced sexual abuse and sexual violence.
For more information and to express an interest take a look at our Facebook Event.
Help Break the Silence
What needs to happen to help people talk openly about sexual abuse and sexual violence? Many students struggle to openly discuss their experiences out of fear of being judged, fear of being blamed and fear of the consequences of disclosing. Whilst glorified social media stories would lead you to believe that many perpetrators are falsely accused, a Crown Prosecution Service report suggests otherwise. Over a 17 month period, there were 5651 prosecutions of rape, 111,891 prosecutions for domestic violence, and only 36 prosecutions for false rape allegations.
Too often, people take ‘banter’ to a level that normalises sexual assault and violence and often shames victims in to staying silent. Would you blame someone if they had their phone stolen whilst walking down the street talking to a friend? If your answer is no, then why is it deemed ok to blame a sexual assault victim for being someone assaulting them whilst walking down the street?
Why not start small and pay attention to everyday banter and jokes that normalise misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, sexism and victim blaming. By you making a stand, you are challenging the perspective that this type of language and behaviour is ok.
Everyday ‘banter’, can prevent people affected by sexual abuse and sexual violence from reporting #ITSNOTOK.
Are you aware of what actions lead to sexual violence and the importance of obtaining consent? Checking for consent is an ongoing process in any sexual encounter, as both parties should have the freedom and capacity to choose to participate. If asking for consent feels awkward, then take a look at our consent blog, for suggestions on getting a ‘definite YES!’.
If you are 100% sure that someone is consenting, it shouldn’t be awkward to ask. If any part of you isn’t sure, then what is the harm in waiting. The consequences of not getting consent for both a victim and perpetrator, far outweigh any discomfort you might feel about asking. Drunk or High? It is not as simple as having a drink drive limit where we know how many units someone has to have consumed to be over the limit… or could it be? If you wouldn’t be willing to get in a car with someone who was over the limit, is that a good guideline for having sex too? Is sex enjoyable with someone who is too drunk or high? Or maybe the best question is: Can you be sure that the person you are about to have sex with is consenting whole-heartedly?
In a nutshell, consent is like asking for a cup of tea.
Take a look at the Would you Like a Cup of Tea Video. That’s basically all there is to it! If you are having sex, taking part in a sexual activity, or sexually touching someone without their consent: #ITSNOTOK
Consent: Yours to give, refuse or take back at any time, every time
Sexual abuse and Violence, might not be what you think. Healthy relationships are based on honesty, fairness, open communication, shared responsibility, intimacy, respect and affection (Equality Wheel). What if your relationship doesn’t include the above?
If you are experiencing any of the above #ITSNOTOK. Check out our Relationship Goals blog for more suggestions on enjoying a healthy relationship. If you are concerned that you are in a psychologically abusive relationship you can read more here, or take a look at the information below about getting support.
If you yourself, or anyone you know is experiencing sexual abuse, sexual violence or is in an unhealthy relationship we are here to help
GOV.UK offers advice on what to do if you have been raped or sexually assaulted, and suggests you immediately contact the police on 999 or your local Sexual Assault Referral Centre (if in Cardiff, Ynys Saff SARC on 029 2033 5795). If you are not quite clear on the law then take a look at this useful factsheet.
If you are the victim of any sort of sexual harassment while at university you can contact Cardiff University Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service or talk to your Personal Tutor under the University’s Zero Tolerance Policy and they will take your complaint seriously.
The Student’s Union now encouraged online reporting of any incidents of inappropriate behaviour, sexual violence, hate crimes and sexual harassment. If you want to find out how you can report your experience anonymously, check out their reporting tool.
If you are an LGBT+ student, we also have more specialised support available. Find out more in our blog about the support available for LGBT+ Students.
Contacting Counselling Health and Wellbeing
We have friendly and approachable staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space. Please access our drop-in from Monday-Friday 3-3:45pm for a 10-15 non-bookable appointment to have an initial chat with us or, alternatively, please refer into our service by completing our online referral questionnaire. It may also be helpful for you to make a GP appointment. If you are not registered anywhere, please contact Park Place Surgery, who provide a GP Service and a Sexual Health Clinic Service from 47 Park Place.
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Amy, Wellbeing Practitioner
Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice and Money, Careers and Employability, Counselling, Health and Wellbeing, Disability and Dyslexia and International Student Support. The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.