Trigger Warning: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment

This week we’re running our Expect Respect campaign, with a focus on sexual consent awareness. Last week, we saw the huge emergence of the #MeToo campaign on social media, where victims bravely shared their experiences of sexual harassment, assault, or violence, drawing attention to this widespread issue. We need to speak up and raise awareness about the importance and necessity of consent and make it clear that harassment is unacceptable.

It’s important to remember that many assaults and rapes go unreported; many people suffer in silence. According to Rape Crisis, 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year. This means that 11 rapes occur every hour, every day. There are some widespread issues within our society which do not help to reduce these harrowing statistics; for example, a third of people believe women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped. Victim blaming is detrimental and damaging to not only the victims, but also to the education and understanding about how we can tackle sexual assault.

This week we have a Consent Conifer on the Concourse (Students’ Union entrance, Building 42) where you can write your definition of consent on a leaf and attach it to the Conifer. Hopefully by the end of the week the tree will be flourishing! There are also some Expect Respect wristbands adorning the tree – feel free to take one to show your support of the campaign. Members of staff, student leaders, and committee members are all wearing their wristbands throughout the week.

If you feel like you may need some support, please visit our Advice Centre in Building 40. Advisers will be able to give you free, confidential, and impartial advice in a friendly and comfortable setting: check here for their contact details.

Let’s all Expect Respect.

Sam Higman, VP Welfare

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