Respecting Each Other

UPSU shares Portsmouth City Council's advice on how to respect others as you head to the city for Freshers.

As you head to Portsmouth for the first time, or back to the city you love, there is one thing a lot of us have in common - looking forward to a night out on the town!

One of the great things about Portsmouth is the array of venues available to visit and enjoy. Meet your friends, meet new friends and embrace our thriving nightlife. 

However, there is one thing to keep in mind as you enjoy a night of fun - and that is respecting others. It's easy to get caught up in the moment or with your mates, especially if you have had something to drink, but you have to think about how your actions and behaviour might affect other people. What’s a bit of fun for you might upset or offend someone else.

Portsmouth City Council have put together a list of common reasons people use for why they think it was ok to touch someone else in a sexual way without their consent, and why they are not an excuse. Take a look and keep these in mind when you are next on your night out.

I was really smashed!

Not an excuse – If you get overly touchy when you’re drunk or high don’t let yourself get to that stage. Know when you’ve had enough. Being out of it is not a defence for committing sexual assault or rape.

I’m just a tactile person!

Not an excuse – you might not have an issue with that level of touching but if someone else does then it’s not ok. Physical contact is an incredibly important type of interaction but if it’s unwanted it can feel threatening and intimidating – particularly if it’s persistent.

I asked first!

Not an excuse – unless they clearly said ‘yes’ to a request, and even then a person has the right to change their mind and people regularly do. If alcohol or drugs are involved people might end up not being happy about something they agreed to earlier and that means it has to stop. Saying something as you’re doing it is not asking permission either, so get your timings right and be clear about consent.

They didn’t tell me to stop!

Not an excuse – when some people are afraid they don’t fight or flee, they freeze. This could be a sign that they are uncomfortable with how or where you are trying to touch them. Silence or a lack of protest is not a sign to crack on. If you haven’t got a clear green light to go ahead, don’t.

They kept making eye contact and brushed by me when we were dancing!

Not an excuse – they might not be making eye contact at all, or are looking at you as they think you’re staring at them, and any brushing past you might be accidental. Even if they are flirting, it might not mean they want you all over them straight away. Start with a conversation to make sure you’re both on the same page.

My friend just did the exact same thing!

Not an excuse – either your mate is also potentially going to get into trouble for overstepping the mark or their situation is completely different and the person has clearly told them they’re ok with what’s happening. Just because they’re ok with your mate doing something doesn’t give you permission as well.

Everyone there was doing it!

Not an excuse – the actions of other people are not a guide or invitation to get hands on yourself. Don’t follow the herd and do speak out if someone is doing something you think is wrong. It takes strength to remove yourself from situations that are uncomfortable or where you feel pressure to do something you don’t actually want to do.

C’mon – look at how they are dressed!

Not an excuse – people are allowed to dress how they want without it being an invitation for you to touch them.

You can read more from Portsmouth City Council on the issue here. There are also links for help and support. 


Although this may happen outside of an academic setting, everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome at the University of Portsmouth. If you've been a victim of sexual misconduct of any kind, make an anonymous report via University's Report and Support platform. You can also speak to The Union Advice Service

There are also other organisations which you can speak to which are separate from the University and The Union. 

Aurora New Dawn - Specialists in safety, support, advocacy, and empowerment to survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking. You can access their 24/7 helpline number on 02394 216 816.

Galop- Galop is the LGBT+ anti-violence charity. Whether you're suffering from abuse and need support or are a survivor and need help, Galop are here for you with support from housing to counselling and even translation services.

Contact us

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