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February 26, 2018 | by  | in Features |
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Let’s Get Consensual

Welcome to the week-long, booze-fuelled party with near-strangers that is O-Week. It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times, it’s everything in between. Chances are, you’ll find yourself at an O-Week party, bar, or nightclub, so if you’re new to Wellington (welcome!), or generally new to the night life, here’s the Salient guide to a safe, fun night out.

MAKE A PLAN

Putting a few safety measures in place before going into town could mean the difference between a snug ride home in an Uber, and a drunken stumble up the side of the motorway because you assured your new friends you absolutely knew the way back to Weir House. My first night out in Wellington I had no idea where I was going, and neither will you. Before you head out, decide how you and your friends are going to get home, and leave the navigation to your driver. It’s also a good idea to exchange phone numbers at the start of the night, so you can find your way back to your group if you get separated.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

So you’re partying your way down Courtenay Place when a stunner of a person catches your eye. Want to go and talk to them? Go for your life. Pressure them into sexual activity, make unsolicited comments about their body, or touch them without their explicit consent? No. This is never ok. Consent means that without your freely given, explicit permission, any of these actions amount to sexual assault. It is your right to decide whether, when, and with whom you want to have sex, and you have the right to acceptance and respect from partners, friends, acquaintances, and that person chatting you up at your friend’s house party. Your “no” means no. Intoxication is no excuse either — a drunk person cannot legally give consent, so this is also sexual assault. If someone is making you uncomfortable in any way, even if you think you’re being irrational, go with your gut and tell them to stop. If you are being cornered or threatened, then shout for help, and you better believe you’re entitled to punch and kick.

LOOK AFTER OTHERS

Sticking with your friends is one of the best ways to stay safe when out at night. By keeping an eye on each other and making sure no one has trailed off, you’re in the best position to protect yourself, and them, from dangerous situations. If a friend or fellow partygoer looks uncomfortable, or like they might be in trouble, there are ways to raise the alarm without endangering your own safety. If something looks suspicious or outright dangerous, don’t hesitate to intervene, ask someone else to intervene on your behalf, alert security staff, or call 111.

O-Week is meant to be a fun time, but reading up on consent and planning in advance are important steps to ensure your night doesn’t take a turn for the worse. Party hard, don’t be a dick, look after each other, and remember that “no” means no.

Resources

Sexual Abuse HELP Wellington

04 801 6655

https://www.wellingtonhelp.org.nz/

Wellington Rape Crisis

(04) 801 8973

http://wellingtonrapecrisis.org.nz/

Student Health

Kelburn Campus (04) 463 5308

Pipitea Campus – (04) 463 7474

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