That woman you have been trying to dance with all night. That guy you have been touching all night, stop and think: “Are they comfortable with me doing this?”
If the answer could be no to those questions, then STOP. Having enjoyed a fair few nights out in Preston, I can safely say that there have been several occasions where i have witnessed both men and women being sexually harassed in the major clubs in town.
The gropey dancing is beyond a joke in most of the major clubs, I’ve seen guys grinding on girls, people being palmed at, shouted at and down right harassed. It’s disgusting, degrading and needs to be stopped.
This is something that happens everyday to everyone. It’s current today in the news at the minute with the Harvey Weinstein scandal, as it stands at the time of this article, a total of 48 women have come forward about this and social media came out with #METOO, where different people around the world came forward with their stories to show that it this had happened to them but also that you’re not alone and your voice matters.
You can barely walk through most clubs without being grabbed, smacked or in some cases kissed. I’ve had friends from both sexes who have been grabbed, physically picked up and had their hands forcefully placed upon other people’s bodies. The worst part about all of this is that people do very little about it. People either ignore it, are too drunk to realise what’s going on or are maybe too scared to do anything.
I don’t mean for people to go throwing themselves into groups at the slight suspicion of someone looking uncomfortable. I mean for people to just ask if they are okay, just check on people, it could save someone a lot of distress and hurt. Drinkaware are actually running a campaign at the minute called ‘Okay to Ask’ in which they state:
“You can make a difference by checking in with someone who seems uncomfortable. Ask if they are OK, rather than directly confronting the person whose behaviour is unacceptable. This lets the person know you have their back and can defuse the situation in a non-aggressive way.”
This is a great way for people to simply look out for one another on a night out and just make everyone’s night more enjoyable. It may even save someone from great trauma and pain.
UCLan SU runs its own campaign as part of its Changing the Culture work happening across University called ‘Say Yes to Respect’ in which it states:
“Every student has the right to work, study and live in an environment where they feel safe and respected. #yestorespect will not only continue to drive and build upon our zero tolerance policy towards sexual violence and harassment but will encompass wider areas of violence and harassment found in hate crime on a greater level.”
This is a fantastic campaign being run by Campaigns Officer Lily Green as it helps those in need and promotes a safe campus.
There is also the initiative if you ever feel unsafe to use the AAA taxi ‘take me home’ scheme. if you’re on a night out and get separated from your mates, the scheme provided by AAA taxis allows you to use your UCLan Card as payment at the time, which is dropped off at the SU finance office. You can then pay your fare when you go to collect your card, if you’ve not had the money on the night out to do so. It’s restricted to £8. AAA taxis number is: 01772 555999
Just remember to be vigilant on a night out, watch out for each others drinks and make sure you always know where it has come from.
Just looking out for each other could save the world a lot of hurt.