Consent and Sexual Assault
Consent in sex shouldn’t be understood to be about not saying no, but to be about saying yes. Consent is not something that happens before you begin having sex and is then fixed: a person can withdraw consent at any point. Even if you’ve been flirting, gone home with someone, engaged in foreplay or started having sex, you are never obliged to do something you don’t want to, and nor is anyone else.
The ability to have an open dialogue with someone you intend to sleep with is really important. Remember that other people may have different boundaries to you and ideas of what they enjoy, and try to be aware of and confident in voicing your own boundaries and preferences. You should also be aware that what someone wants to do can change: try not to be offended if your partner stops liking something, or feel like if you’ve done something before you have to do it again.
Sexual Assault Support Services and Reporting Procedure
If you have experienced sexual harassment and/or sexual violence, there is free and confidential support available both from the University of Cambridge and other external organisations.
You may have very mixed feelings about what happened, and whether to tell anyone. People can react very differently and this is normal. You should not feel under any pressure to act in any specific way.
The welfare team has put together two google documents where you can access information about the support services available and reporting procedures should you wish to report what happened.
- Link to the document with a list of Sexual assault support services
- Includes information about:
- Support through the University of Cambridge
- Support through Trinity Hall
- External organisations
- National support helplines
- Support for specific groups of survivors e.g. male, LGBT+, childhood sexual abuse
- Extra resources and self-help guides
- University of Cambridge and external campaigns
- Link to the document about Sexual assault reporting procedures
- Includes information about the University of Cambridge procedures and Trinity Hall procedures
Who to contact if you feel at risk and need urgent help
If you or someone else feel at risk right now and/or if you are injured then you can call the emergency services on 999.
You can also go to your Porters Lodge and they will be able to assist you. For incidents in University premises you can call the University Security Office on 01223 331818.
Key messages for you, if you have experienced sexual violence or harassment
- It was not your fault.
- You are not alone; you deserve to feel supported and believed.
- You have a choice in what you do next and what is right for you.
- You can get support from trusted friends and family and/or professional support.
- You can get support from the Sexual Assault and Harassment Advisor (SAHA) here at the University.
- You can get external support from an Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA) at Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre.
- You can go The Elms – Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), for a forensic medical examination where they can store evidence for you while you make your mind up about reporting. You may be able to get support with transport to the SARC from your college. Ask your college porters if they are able to arrange and pay a taxi for you.
- You can report the incident to the police if you choose to do so, including anonymously.
- You can report any incidents of sexual violence or harassment to the University; you don’t have to do this, but if you do, we can direct you to appropriate confidential support and help with any adjustments to your study.
|Within University or College||In general|
|Your Tutor/Senior Tutor||A trusted friend|
| Sexual Assault and Harassment |
|A trusted family member|
|University Counsellor||Your GP|
| College Nurse or College |
|University Security Staff||National or local Helplines|
|Student Union Advice Service Advisor||Other Counselling Services|
|External support services|