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Sexual harassment seen as "biggest risk" for female students on nights out


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As the newest intake of freshers gear up for what should be the best week of their lives, a new study has highlighted one of the dangers faced by university students.

The research, conducted by the charity DrinkAware, has found that more than half of female students have experienced sexual harrasment whilst on a night out.

It found that 54% of female students had been victims of sexual inappropriate touching, comments or abuse, with 51% saying that these things were a regular occurence.

Worryingly, only 14% of those surveyed were surprised that they hadn't been affected by such behaviour. 15% of male students aged 18-24 were also affected.

The study also found that sexual harassment is perceived as the biggest risk associated with nights out for students.

Research suggests that, on average, students are drinking more moderately. However, with 57% of students enjoying going out and getting drunk and more than a third hitting the town two or more times a week, students can be vulnerable in university cities.

DrinkAware has started the #GropeFreeNights hashtag, asking students to contribute their experiences through social media in order to change the culture around sexual harrasment.

One student at the University of Norwich, Elizabeth, said "It’s got to the point now where you just expect it on a night out.

"Being touched by someone you don’t know is not a nice situation to be in but I kind of just accept it. I don’t think people talk about sexual harassment at university enough – there seems to be this illusion that people who sexually harass others aren’t really doing anything wrong.”

Kate, a recent graduate, said: "There is a real undercurrent of sexual harassment at university and I've experienced a lot of catcalling in my university town too.

"Women get harassed by people they know too, which has happened to me - I once had to throw a friend out of my house because he kept harassing me for sex. That incident happened in my third year and I was really angry about it, but if I was still a fresher in my first year I would have been less confident and I wouldn't have known what to do."

Join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #GropeFreeNights

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