Sexual Harassment Tops List Of Risks For Female Students On Nights’ Out

  • drinkaware54% of 18-24 year old female students experienced sexual harassment
  • Drinkaware and UNILAD call on young people to ‘call-out’ incidents of sexual harassment on nights out, using #GropeFreeNights
  • 60% of students say they really enjoy going out to get drunk
  • Vomiting, passing out and needing hospital treatment feature in the line-up

Getting in a fight, a regrettable one night stand or passing out in public – were all named as negative experiences that spoil a good night. But unreleased ICM research, carried out for the alcohol education charity Drinkaware, now reveals sexual harassment tops the list as the most common incident for female students on a night out.

In a survey of over 2,000 students across the UK, three quarters of those aged 18-24 admitted to having experienced one or more of the following on a night out over a 12 month period: inappropriate sexual touching, comments or abuse; vomiting; having an accident; a regrettable sexual encounter or experiencing uncertainty around one; passing out in public; involvement in a fight, or needing hospitalisation.

Troublingly, more than half (54%) of 18-24 year-old female students experienced sexual harassment (inappropriate touching, comments or abuse) on nights out. Among these women, half (51%) confirmed this is something they experience most or every time they go out, and only one in seven (14%) were surprised to be at the receiving end of it. It’s not just women, almost one in seven (15%) male students experience inappropriate or unwanted sexual comments and touching on a night out.

Despite the increasing trend of moderate drinking among students, the list of risks associated with a night out is announced alongside data revealing that 57% of students say they really enjoy going out to get drunk, with over a third of students (37%) going out twice or more a week.

As students across the country gear up for Fresher’s Week, Drinkaware has teamed up with UNILAD to address the normalisation of sexual harassment amongst young people on nights out.

Drinkaware and UNILAD are calling on young people to shout out against sexual harassment on social media, using #GropeFreeNights, in order to shine a spotlight on the issue. The goal is to provoke debate and empower young people to reject the permissive culture around sexual harassment on nights out. In order to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. Drinkaware is also urging students on nights out to stay safe, know their limits and look out for drunk friends.

Ben Butler, Marketing and Communications Director at alcohol education charity Drinkaware says: “We’re excited to be working with UNILAD, as the largest platform engaging 18-24 year olds both male and female, no one understands young people better, what makes them tick and how best to reach them. Together we want to disrupt the normalisation of sexual harassment on nights out.

“Young people shouldn’t have to put up with sexual harassment as part of a night out. Touching another person in a sexual way without their consent is legally defined as sexual assault. We hope that through sharing their own experiences young people will think twice about what behavior is acceptable on nights out.”

Chief Executive of UNILAD, Liam Harrington, says: “We’re partnering with Drinkaware to encourage more people to take part in the conversation around sexual harassment, and give victims the confidence to share their stories.

We want our audience to consider whether they would still behave in the same way towards someone if they were sober. Drinking stops you thinking as clearly about social situations, including sexual harassment, and things your sober self would never consider all of a sudden seem a laugh or a good idea.

With the majority of our audience being 18-35, and with 26 million followers across social media, we believe we’re in a pretty good position to share important information about the dangers of binge drinking.”

To support young people Drinkaware has introduced a team of specially trained staff, Drinkaware Crew, in four university towns across the country. By the end of the year, the scheme will be rolled out across the UK. The aim is to reduce negative experiences related to drunkenness – including anti-social behaviour and sexual harassment. The team work in bars and clubs to promote a positive social atmosphere, support those who might be vulnerable as a result of drinking too much, and ensure young people get home safely.

Join the conversation at #GropeFreeNights. 

For more information about Drinkaware’s ‘You wouldn’t sober, you shouldn’t drunk’ campaign visit