Friendships and relationships are a very important part of university life for many students, which is why here at UPSU we want to make sure you have the best social life possible and the best time when you are here. This always includes feeling safe and comfortable.
What is Consent
Part of the university experience is the friendships and relationships that you’ll make along the way. Whether it’s living in halls, going on nights out, taking part in society events and lectures or anything in-between, you’ll be interacting with a whole host of interesting and varied people from all sorts of backgrounds. When it comes to those interactions, understanding consent is everyone’s responsibility.
In its most simplified form, consent is all about respecting the boundaries and bodily autonomy of others. It’s not exclusive to sexual consent either, you should be seeking consent before you interact with another person in any way that would impact on their personal boundaries (e.g. instigating a hug, or a kiss).
Sex and Consent
Due to the importance of tackling sexual harassment and violence on campus, as well as the inadequacy of sex education in the UK and across the globe, a lot of consent talk has rightly been focusing on sexual consent.
Being aware of consent creates a society where no one feels ashamed to willingly engage in, or to reject, sexual activity - a society where people are respectful of others’ choices, and know that sex without consent is rape, a serious crime for which only the perpetrator can be blamed.
How do I know I am getting Consent?
Consent is freely given – Someone who has been threatened, blackmailed, or coerced is not free to consent.
Consent is retractable - Consent can be withdrawn at any point if one of the two parties changes their mind or feels uncomfortable. Crucially, consent to one action is not consent to all actions, so if you want to try something new make sure you get consent.
Consent is active - All people in a sexual situation must feel that they are able to say "yes" or "no" or stop the sexual activity at any point.
Someone who is unconscious, asleep, or unable to communicate cannot give consent.
Equally, alcohol and drugs can significantly impact on someone’s capacity to understand what is happening around them and consent.
Finally, consent should always be clear. If you are ever in any doubt about having someone’s consent, you should stop and ask if they are alright.