As we progress through 2017 and reflect on what the past twelve months taught us, it’s a good time to think about what we want to achieve in the New Year. Unfortunately, last year, Brighton had a huge issue with people’s safety on nights out.
An online survey by The Tab found that Sussex University females were some of the least safe in the country, with 96% of girls experienced groping on a night out. In addition, it was reported by the University of Sussex Student Union that 69% of females and 25% of males had experienced someone attempting to touch them sexually without their consent on a night out. Despite that, most people who took part in the study reported that they felt safe when going out at night in Brighton and less than a fifth said that they would definitely report incidents of sexual harassment or assault to the police.
Although it’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to big issues like this, we can all contribute to making a change by supporting local campaigns which aim to eradicate unwanted sexual behaviour and make Brighton’s nightlife a safe and enjoyable scene. That’s where Consent in Clubs comes in, a local movement aimed at promoting the education and understanding of consent.
Consent in Clubs was founded in Brighton but now has its material used in nightlife venues nationwide, and is receiving global recognition for its content. They hosted their first event at Patterns late last month and are planning to put on more this year. We caught up with its founder Bethy to find out more.
First of all, we’d love to hear a little more about what Consent in Clubs is all about. How would you describe its purpose?
Consent in Clubs works with clubs, bars, and pubs nationwide with the aim of getting rid of victim-blaming approaches when tackling cases of sexual harassment and assault. We raise awareness about unhealthy relationships & unwanted sexual behaviour not being something anyone should accept through ‘consent posters’ which we hope will educate people, prevent harassment and assault as well as let people know that there is help for them in the venue and beyond, should they encounter unwanted attention.
Tell us about your event at Patterns.
Our club night proved that nightlife can and should be safe as well fun. We sold out of tickets and managed to enforce a zero tolerance policy in the club which goes to show two things: 1) that people want their nights out to be harassment free and 2) it’s more than possible to achieve.
What are your plans for 2017?
This year, we’re releasing a short film series, which we hope will reach a lot of people and make a large impact, both in Brighton and beyond. The main goal for the project is to break down taboos on speaking about topics such as cat calling, abusive relationships, sexism. We want the videos to alter the way this society views and accepts things that it shouldn’t.
We’re also planning more club events so that we can spread the message further of safe nightlife. I can’t say too much about other upcoming projects, but 2017 is going to be quite a busy year for Consent in Clubs, and we can’t wait.
• Check out Consent in Clubs’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and look out for their up and coming projects throughout 2017. Showing support for this movement will help move towards a society free from sexual harassment.