Sexual harassment: How can you help?

If you see someone being sexually harassed on a night out, it can make a big difference if you ask them if they’re ok – whether they’re a friend or a stranger!

What is happening on nights out?

Going on a night out should be all about good music, good times and having fun. Nights out can be ruined by unwanted sexual advances from people who are drunk with just over a third of women (35%) and 9% of men telling us that they’ve experienced unwanted sexual contact on a night out1.

It’s not OK for anyone’s night to be ruined because of intrusive or inappropriate behaviour, and by looking out for people around you, you can help make sure that nights out are better for everyone! 

How can you help someone who is being harassed?

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. 

What's the difference between flirting and harassment?

Want to help? Be smart, act safely

If you’ve had a few drinks your inhibitions may be lowered, so be mindful of that before you intervene so you don’t end up adding to the problem. 

Always ask yourself the following questions:

  • What's going on? We all know that gut feeling when something’s not right, but double check your instincts.
  • Is something dodgy definitely happening? Get a second opinion from a mate if you’re not sure.
  • Is it safe? The biggest rule here is put safety first. Even if what you’re seeing makes you angry, take a step back and think about the risks involved before approaching the person who looks uncomfortable.

If a situation looks like it’s already getting out of hand then telling a member of security staff will be much more effective and safe.

How can I help? Consider your options. If it's safe to do so, check in: Are they OK? If yes, then you've lost nothing!

If they say they’re not OK, strike up a conversation to find out how you can help, which puts distance between them and the harasser. You could invite them to join your group, offer to walk them to a different area of the venue, or ask if they'd like you to contact a friend, venue staff, first aid or security. 

Remember these simple steps: Check it, Step in, Ask if they’re OK!

Keep your mates safe on a night out: #Staywithyourpack

Have you been affected by sexual harassment on a night out?

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by sexual harassment or any sort of sexual harm, help and support is available. Victim Support is an independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime. They offer free, confidential help to anyone who’s been affected by sexual harassment. Call 08 08 16 89 111 or go to www.victimsupport.org.uk 

Drinkaware worked with the Good Night Out campaign and academic Rachel Fenton, project lead for 'The Intervention Initiative' at the University of Exeter, on the development of this advice.

With these tips, do you now feel more able to support someone who has been sexually harassed in a club?



References

[1] YouGov 2016, Survey of nationally representative sample of 1,650 GB adults, conducted 26th Feb – 1st March 2016, https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/m5gapykjuh/EVAW_Results_160301_GB_Website.pdf, Accessed 9 May 2017