Southampton students share their experiences with sexual assault

38% of our survey respondents considered themselves victims of sexual assault

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This month, the Soton Tab is shining a light on sexual assault. The following experiences were shared by Southampton students who responded to our sexual consent awareness survey.

“I was standing in a group of about five girls and we were just dancing and laughing and minding our own business. The club was packed so I didn’t notice hands that accidentally brushed against me. 9/10 it’s someone trying to squeeze passed or they’re dancing and haven’t noticed. But it kept happening and each time the movement was getting more aggressive. At first it was the back of a hand swiping against my bum, then the palm, then a squeeze etc. I looked over to my friend and gave her ‘the look’ we always give each other when we’re getting unwanted attention and our group moved away.

“A few minutes later it started again, this time a hand tried to go down my jeans and I froze up for a moment. When I turned around, i saw a group of about four men all looking at me and I could tell they’d all been involved. The one closest to me leaned in and told me they were having a competition to see how far they could go before I noticed they were groping me because I ‘have a nice arse’. I wanted to slap them and scream but I couldn’t find any words so I grabbed my closest friend and ran to the smoking area to get some air. I didn’t report it because even if I had gone to a bouncer or someone inside the club they usually ignore this sort of thing and I couldn’t even remember their faces. I had nothing to go on so reporting it wouldn’t have got me anywhere”

Anonymous, Second year History

“Sexual assault can come in many forms. There was no physical violence, I was physically not forced to do anything but I was incredibly young and was coerced and manipulated to an extreme extent. This still affects my relationships now, as I am very self conscious and struggle to have sex sometimes without panicking or being left with that sense of disgust and shame.”

Anonymous, Second year English


“I was hanging out with my friends and their ‘friends’ which were guys, older than ourselves. We were all just talking when I was suddenly pushed to the ground. One pinned me down while the other put his hands down my pants. The only reason he stopped shortly afterwards was because he laughed at my pubic hair. My so-called friends did nothing but watch. I was only 12.”

Anonymous, First year Languages

‘Very very few of my female friends haven’t been raped. My mother was raped twice in her lifetime. If you are a man and none of your female friends have ever told you about their experience of sexual violence, maybe you need to look in the mirror and wonder why they aren’t trusting you.’

Anonymous, Third year English


“There are too many experiences to count. A few weeks ago I had to walk through a big group of boys coming out of the ladies’ toilet in a club. Nobody was willing to move and as I squeezed past, I felt a hand full-on grope my bum. I smacked it away but had no idea who it belonged to. Before that I’ve had someone unzip my skirt and touch my bum while I’m dancing with my boyfriend. It makes me not want to go clubs anymore.”

Anonymous, Third year Philosophy


If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised by this piece, please go here for more information and advice.