Speaking up about 'groping' on a night out
#MeToo has been one of the most iconic movements in recent years, but what's important to understand is that it doesn't just stop at female celebrities.
As university students, this could be something that you or your peers experience on a regular basis.
#MeToo encourages victims of sexual assault and abuse to speak up about their experiences. This helps others in a similar situation to feel confident enough step forward themselves. The movement is showing no signs of slowing down, as #MeToo was used 1.5 million times on Instagram in 2018, making it one of the most used advocacy hashtags of the year! More recently, the most recent (at the time of writing) Gilette advert has caused some controversy too with its approach to this topic.
Is this something that has affected you?
The amount of sexual assault recorded in a recent survey was shocking - out of 4,500 students, 62% said that they experienced sexual violence of some sort. This included a mix of groping, harassment and unwanted touching - all of which can be common on a student night out.
The times of 'harmless' groping on a night are long gone and it's now something that people are no longer accepting. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you need to tell a member of staff wherever you are. Even if you notice it happening to someone else, you should act the same way. Luckily, more and more bars and clubs are training staff to look out for sexual assault on their premises. If students come together to tackle this issue, the more chance there is of resolution.
Smart technology could inspire change
Whether you have experienced groping in a nightclub first-hand, witnessed it happening to someone else or haven't at all, it's happening all over the world. A recent study in Brazil (where 86% of women say they've experienced harassment) involved three women going into a club wearing a dress with touch sensor technology. Together, the dresses recorded that the women were groped 157 times!
Three women wore this 'smart dress' to a club to record how many times they were touched without their consent. The grand total: 157 touches pic.twitter.com/B4zLFdzYaK
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) December 2, 2018
Research like this shows how big the issue is, but the constant increase in the #MeToo movement shows that it is something people aren't as afraid of speaking up about anymore. By reporting issues like groping and harassment as and when they happen, it will encourage positive results.
This is happening to a large percentage of people, so if you have experienced something similar or know someone that has, it isn't always easy to talk about it but there is support available:
- Speak to your friends and family: You may find this difficult but by talking about what happened and how it made you feel, it may be a relief to get it off your chest.
- Reach out to Student Support: If you struggle to speak to familiar faces, reach out to your university support services. They will offer a confidential, non-judgemental service where you can talk about how you're feeling.
- Contact Victim Support: If you've been affected by a sexually violent crime, call the free support line on 0808 1689 111 or email them and someone will get back to you.
Always speak up about how you're feeling and remember, if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't.
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