A YouGov poll of 2,013 18-24-year olds revealed that 75% young people have witnessed someone being groped in a bar or club. This shocking statistic comes as part of ongoing research into the normalisation of sexual assault in a bar or club environment. Another study found that just 14% of women would be shocked if they were sexually assaulted on a night out. In fact, 54% of women polled said they had been sexually assaulted at a club and/or bar. Furthermore, a quarter of men also revealed that they had been sexually assaulted on a night out.
Sexual assault in bars and nightclubs has notoriously been an issue for students, especially as until recently it has very much been treated as the norm. With new efforts from initiatives such as the Good Night Out Campaign, those working for the cause are hoping to raise awareness about the illegality of sexual assault in any situation- but especially bars and clubs.
Student Life Guide spoke to students asking if they viewed this kind of behaviour as the norm. Disturbingly, the results overwhelmingly revealed that sexual assault is something that is seen as a regular part of any night out. Ellie, as second year student told SLG, “It’s become an expected norm, makes you feel really uncomfortable about being stood alone”.
Billie, a third-year student explained a shocking incident that she experienced in her first year ta university. She said, “[sexual assault] happens all the time. At Halloween in my first year I was groped so I pulled the guy over to the bouncers, asking them to kick him out. He just walked off– bouncers did nothing. Then his mate told me to ‘stop being such a bitch’ and that he wasn’t going to get kicked out because he was a DJ. I had to watch him perform later that night.”
Zara, a student at the University of Manchester, explained how she has learnt to avoid going to ‘straight’ bars as it means she is safer from the pursuits of sexual predators. Zara said that she has “thankfully only been groped once, in a straight nightclub. Now, I usually go to the gay village rather than straight clubs. If I went to more straight places I suppose it would happen more often, but I would still be upset each time it happened.”
The fact that students are thankful that they have ‘only been groped once’ seems telling, as such an act is illegal and, thus, should not be occurring at all.
If you are on a night out and spot someone being assaulted, Drinkaware advice that you take the following precautions:
- Spot it – is something dodgy happening?
- Check it- is it safe to step in?
- Speak out- if you feel safe to do so, speak to the person being targeted. Are they alright? If not, try and speak to staff and/or security.
If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed and wish to seek advice, call 08 08 16 89 111 or go to www.victimsupport.org.uk