Everyone deserves to have fun on a night out. The easiest way to achieve this is to be respectful of others and think about how your actions and behaviour might affect them. What’s a bit of fun for you might upset or offend someone else.
This is especially important when it comes to touching someone else (we’re not talking accidentally bumping into someone). If this is done without the other person’s permission it could not only upset them but also mean you’re breaking the law.
These are some common reasons people use for why they think it was ok to touch someone else in a sexual way without their consent.
I was really smashed!
Not an excuse – If you get overly touchy when you’re drunk or high don’t let yourself get to that stage. Know when you’ve had enough. Being out of it is not a defence for committing sexual assault or rape.
I’m just a tactile person!
Not an excuse – you might not have an issue with that level of touching but if someone else does then it’s not ok. Physical contact is an incredibly important type of interaction but if it’s unwanted it can feel threatening and intimidating – particularly if it’s persistent.
I asked first!
Not an excuse – unless they clearly said ‘yes’ to a request, and even then a person has the right to change their mind and people regularly do. If alcohol or drugs are involved people might end up not being happy about something they agreed to earlier and that means it has to stop. Saying something as you’re doing it is not asking permission either, so get your timings right and be clear about consent.
They didn’t tell me to stop!
Not an excuse – when some people are afraid they don’t fight or flee, they freeze. This could be a sign that they are uncomfortable with how or where you are trying to touch them. Silence or a lack of protest is not a sign to crack on. If you haven’t got a clear green light to go ahead, don’t.
They kept making eye contact and brushed by me when we were dancing!
Not an excuse – they might not be making eye contact at all, or are looking at you as they think you’re staring at them, and any brushing past you might be accidental. Even if they are flirting, it might not mean they want you all over them straight away. Start with a conversation to make sure you’re both on the same page.
My friend just did the exact same thing!
Not an excuse – either your mate is also potentially going to get into trouble for overstepping the mark or their situation is completely different and the person has clearly told them they’re ok with what’s happening. Just because they’re ok with your mate doing something doesn’t give you permission as well.
Everyone there was doing it!
Not an excuse – the actions of other people are not a guide or invitation to get hands on yourself. Don’t follow the herd and do speak out if someone is doing something you think is wrong. It takes strength to remove yourself from situations that are uncomfortable or where you feel pressure to do something you don’t actually want to do.
C’mon – look at how they are dressed!
Not an excuse – people are allowed to dress how they want without it being an invitation for you to touch them.
View our posters that have been created to help everyone think about how they can behave respectfully on a night out so that everyone can have a good time.
Below are links to services and advice if you’ve experienced sexual assault or rape.