University is a space for learning, expanding our experience of the world, and examining our own values, goals, and behaviours. Reflecting on how we behave and relate to others, especially intimate partners, is an important part of growing as a person.
We all want to feel that we have good intentions and that these mean we cannot hurt others. However, we cannot possibly know how we impact other people and it’s important now to become curious about how we are received, where we are getting things right and wrong, and how we can improve our behaviour and communication.
It can be very difficult to recognise when our behaviour is hurting others, and seeking support for this can be daunting, but support is available, and engaging with yourself and what has happened can be hugely positive.
As a first step, we recommend contacting Wellbeing Services to speak with an Adviser in a non-judgmental space.
If someone has told you that you have hurt them
- Listen to them without interrupting.
- Take time and space away from them if you need to process what you’ve heard or are feeling angry or upset.
- If they need time and space away from you, accept this and do not put any pressure on them.
- Take responsibility for the hurt which they have described.
- Be led by them about what should happen next – be prepared that one or both of you may want to end your relationship.
- Take actions to understand your behaviour, the impacts, and how to navigate future intimate relationships – there are resources here to help you.
Consent Collective Resources
The University has partnered with The Consent Collective to provide a library of resources to students around sex, consent, and relationships. Many of these resources are helpful in starting to examine your own behaviour.
To access the materials click on the link and select ‘Already have an account’. Login using your University of Bristol email and password.
- How and why we all need to get curious about our own behaviour
- Why this isn’t just about consent for sex
- Being good at consent means being good at rejection
- Consent. Why it’s more than being a good person
Support for you
- The University has a range of wellbeing support. If you are not sure who to contact, you can speak to an Adviser from the University’s Student Wellbeing or Residential Life Services for advice and support. Contact Wellbeing Access to do this.
- The Respect Phoneline offers support if you are worried about some of your behaviours and you want to take steps to change them. They have a lot of resources about relationships, as well as a confidential and anonymous phoneline.
- The Hotline also provides support for people exploring how to change their behaviour. They offer a comprehensive guide to planning and goals around behaviour change, as well as a non-judgemental phoneline and live chat.
- If you want to read more about how we can all make our relationships more consensual and improve our understanding of our own and others’ consent, we recommend this free ebook, ‘Consent’ by Meg-John Barker.