There are many elements to university life – two of the most prominent, especially around Freshers’ Week, are the cultures of meeting women in clubs and drinking as much as you can. Normally, these are perfectly fine, and seen as pretty much par for the course. However, there is always a minority willing to take it too far, and from these a thousand-and-one examples of “lad culture” are spawned.
We all know what that term implies: the treatment of women as objects to be groped, harassed or abused without any input or consent. This is never acceptable under any circumstances, but especially during Freshers’ Week, when the campus receives an influx of students still adjusting to the city and learning to live on their own.
The University itself has taken steps to eradicate lad culture, and ensure the safety of freshers during this fragile first term. YUSU’s NightSafe initative, the Clubbers’ Bus and the use of STYCs to guide students through the city are all important measures there to keep them safe. But we, as students, need to be involved too.
Watching our own behaviour, as well as that of others, and looking out for our friends is vital, in order to keep ourselves safe. Shutting down an inappropriate comment or warding off a predatory gesture can make all the difference, and make our city and campus a little bit safer for all those who inhabit it.