RESPECT WEEK

28 JUN - 1 JUL

R.E.S.P.E.C.T, Find out What it Means to Me

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to me

Let's be real — it's been a strange, topsy turvy year and looking out for each other and standing together with your peers is more important now than ever.

Leading up to Respect Week in Week 5, we're going to be covering some of the many ways that it's important to listen, be aware and step up. We'll be hearing from our community on topics including microaggressions, how to be a better ally and online dating etiquette, across Facebook, Instagram and right here.

Racism – it's never ok  

Here at UNSW, we are lucky enough to have one of the most diverse populations of any university in the country. People come from all over the country and internationally to attend our uni and fight about which is better – Matthews Food Court or Time for Thai.  

And while the vast majority of us have friends from all different cultural and racial backgrounds, without even knowing it, we all have some inherent biases about race, culture and linguistic difference that we’ve picked up from years of ‘living in a society’.  

Ask yourself: when you go into a classroom in the first week of class, who do you sit next to? People that look like you? How many students do you chat to that speak a different first language to you?  

You’re not a bad person if you’re just now realising that you spend a lot of time with people that look like you. We’re all creatures of habit and it can be hard to break out of that. But next time you’re in a group of people you don’t know, don’t be afraid to have a chat to someone that looks a little different to you.  

Buuuut, while you’re doing it don’t fall into any of the following faux pas:  

  • Don’t ask: “But where are you really from?”  

  • Don’t ask intrusive questions about their backgrounds  

  • If they have linguistic difference, don’t speak to them like they’re hard of hearing  

  • And if you have any questions, GOOGLE IT  

  • If you see or hear someone saying something inappropriate on or offline about someone’s race – notice, identify, assess and STEP UP. Whether the person intended it as an insult or a meaningless joke, if it offends someone on the basis of race, it is simply not ok. Call it out.  

During the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to support your friends and loved ones particularly those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Since the beginning of the outbreak, many Australians of Asian descent have reported discrimination of a sometimes violentnature.  

Racism will NOT be tolerated at UNSW or at Arc. If you or someone you know has experience racism on or off campus, there are a couple of places you can go to get support.  

On campus  

To report experiences of racism, you can make a complaint through the UNSW Complaints portal found here. This complaint can be made anonymously if you would prefer not to identify yourself.  

Before you make a complaint, feel free to contact Arc Legal & Advocacy via email at
advice@arc.unsw.edu.au. Arc Legal & Advocacy can step you through the process for reporting.  

If you need/want to access psychological support, you can contact UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services via email at counselling@unsw.edu.au or phone by calling + 61 2 9385 5418.  

Off campus  

Make a complaint with the Human Rights Commission - the Human Rights Commission will investigate any form of human right abuse and/or discrimination. The service is free, impartial, and informal.  

Racism, it stops with me – provides resources about how to respond when you see or hear racism  

Responding to every day bigotry – for more information about to stand up to casual racism in every day situations, the Southern Poverty Law Centre has put together this guide. 

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Online Dating – The Good, The Bad & The Fuckboys 

Whether good or bad, dating apps are changing the way we communicate and well... date. The fact that we need to specify to friends that we met someone IRL, not online, speaks volumes. Andunfortunately while many experiences of dating online can be extremely positive, a lot of us feel that if we are sent another unasked for picture of a penis we’re going to lose it.  

Example: Skylar is browsing Tinder and has been chatting to a nice person for a little while. Suddenly, *ping* Skylar has received an image of that person’s genitals. Skylar never asked for that image and feels very uncomfortable. What should Skylar do? 

  1. Report the person to Tinder and/or submit a confidential report of the incident (by clicking the “...” icon) 

  1. Ask that person to not contact them again and remind them that it is not appropriate to send content like this to someone without consent 

  1. Unmatch the person and talk to a friend/confidant about the experience 

  1. Report the incident to the police 

The answer is, that Skylar could pursue any or all of these options. Whatever they feel comfortable doing is totally the right thing in this situation.  

Get to know the inner workings of your dating app or website of choice and how the reporting feature works. In situations where you feel your welfare is in danger (1) take screenshots of the conversation, and (2) call the police directly.

But what about isolation dating? 

If you are currently on the apps looking for love, don’t worry you are not alone! According to Bumble, there has been a 23% rise in the number of messages on the platform and a 31% rise in in-app calls.  

So what are some positives of dating online during a pandemic: 

  • Most dating apps are moving to disable geo-location restrictions – so you can chat to cool people from all around the world! 

  • Many are enabling new features in-app to allow users to have video call dates instead of in-person meet ups 

  • Say goodbye to the awkward ‘hey’ - what’s a better ice-breaker than ‘how many times have you seen the sun today?’ 

  • Ever wanted to go on a date but also be able to stay home in the comfort of your own bed? Well finally, your prayers have been answered. You can chat for hours with an interesting person and never have to change out of your pyjamas. 

But let’s set a couple of ground rules: 

  1. Do NOT meet up with your new-found boos (no matter how many times they say they’re corona free) - this could have the potential to save a life so don’t let your libido override your brain 

  1. Sexy time needs to be over the phone or messenger NOT in person  

  1. Consent is everything, even online – check and see if your new boo is down with the technology assisted dating steps you are going through. Are they ok with raunchy messages? Do they get anxious in video calls and therefore, may want another type of online connection? Are you sure they are comfortable with phone sex? 

So head out into the virtual world and get yourself some – consensually  

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Dealing with household conflict 

Content warning: domestic violence 

Not leaving the house may be good for public health but it may not be the best for mental health or household dynamics. Never before have we been in so much close proximity with those we live with. And all that closeness is bound to create a little tension. So how do we deal with it? 

  • Make sure you communicate boundaries – whether you’re at home with family, roommates or someone else, it is important to establish with each other what sort of contact you want in this time. If you need space during the day – let them know. 

  • Try to communicate if problems do arise – so someone’s not washing up their dishes and it’s driving you around the bend. Try to let the anger go and just have an honest conversation about how it frustrates you and you’d like them to stop. Communicating calmly and honestly can prevent so many conflicts.  

  • Cut people as much slack as you can – it's a very strange time we’re living in and everyone is going to react differently. If your loved one wants a lot of attention when you want space or vice versa, just remember that we’re all trying to get through this in some way. Be kind and understanding. 

There is a difference between general conflict however and abuse/violence. How to recognise domestic abuse/violence: 

  • Excessive jealousy 

  • Controlling behaviour such as requiring phone passwords, and monitoring movements 

  • Constant belittling and humiliating 

  • Physical violence  

  • Exposure to physical violence of other household members 

  • Discouraging from seeing/talking to others 

If you feel that you are experiencing domestic abuse or domestic violence, there are people that can help.  

  • 1800RESPECT – A 24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Call 1800 737 732. 

  • Lifeline – A national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State. Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can call. Call 13 11 14.  

  • Men’s Referral Service - This service from No to Violence offers assistance, information and counselling to help men who use family violence. Call 1300 766 491 

  • Mensline Australia - Supports men and boys who are dealing with family and relationship difficulties. 24/7 telephone and online support an information service for Australian men. Call 1300 789 978. 

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Social media and the omniscient troll 

Content warning: online abuse. 

As much as we used to be addicted to social media, now more than ever, we are being encouraged to be online for much of the day – for the interest of public safety. While this has got some great pluses (ie. Being able to be in a tutorial from the comfort of your bed), it also has some significant minuses. 

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner reported in early April that there had been a 40% increase in reports of online abuse and cyber-bullying compared to the normal weekly average. So, how do we ensure our own safety online, and, how do we make sure we’re not the bully? 

So what is online abuse/trolling? 

Sometimes it can be hard to quantify whether you have experienced online abuse or trolling – hasn't everyone been screamed at online by someone with more passion about a subject than is healthy? 

The eSafety Commissioner defines online abuse (AKA trolling) as “behaviour that uses technology to threaten, intimidate, harass or humiliate someone — with the intent to hurt them socially, psychologically or even physically.” 

Examples of online abuse include: 

  • Targeted and persistent personal attacks aimed at ridiculing, insulting, damaging or humiliating a person. 

  • Seriously offensive and shocking material — this can include posting inflammatory comments on memorial and tribute pages or posting images of deceased people with intent to upset family members or others. 

  • Repeatedly sending obscene messages to a person or their family, friends or work colleagues. 

  • Threatening violence or inciting others to do the same. 

  • Stalking a person online and hacking into their accounts, such as social media, banking or email accounts (‘cyberstalking’). 

What to do if you have experienced online abuse 

  1. Do not respond – this may be challenging but responding can commonly intensify their inappropriate behaviour. 

  1. Record it – having proof of their behaviour can be helpful if you choose to report now or in the future. 

  1. Report/block - most social media sites have options for reporting people who are behaving inappropriately. Do so and don’t be afraid to block them so you never have to hear from them again.  

  1. Log off – sometimes social media is just the pits. Get some space from it when you need. 

What if you realise you are the bully 

So, you enjoying having debates on Twitter and riling up people from the opposite opinion. Who doesn’t? But, sometimes, it can go over the line. There is a difference between debating opinions and bullying others using personal attacks, name calling and harassment. 

Now more than ever, we need to be there for others and be compassionate online as we would in person. Be aware of how you’re treating others and try logging off for a while if you feel yourself getting sucked into old behaviour. 

 

Resources 

If you are struggling with online abuse, feel free to reach out to any of the following resources: 

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Microaggressions 

Microaggression is a term that can be confusing with many unsure what it is or why it is that big a deal. Essentially a microaggression is when you say something totally unintentionally that wasactually informed by discriminatory stereotypes. On their own, small interactions like this can be slightly annoying but when people from minority groups confront microaggressions every day, it can get really tiring. 

For example, microaggressions include: 

  • Where are you really from? 

  • What bathroom do you use? 

  • Can I touch your hair? 

  • As someone with a disability just living your life, you’re such an inspiration! 

Microaggressions might seem like a temporary annoyance but, over many years, people can start to internalise the attitudes of those around them causing them to believe that they’re not good enough or somehow lesser than others.  

So, during this pandemic, how about we all commit to interacting with others without the use of microaggressions. Be kind and if you don’t know something about someone’s culture, disability, or identity, how about research it on your own before asking intrusive questions. 

For more on microaggressions, give the following video a watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDd3bzA7450 

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Being an Active Bystander Online 

Being an active bystander means stepping in and stepping up when you notice something is happening. Whether someone is making derogatory comments or jokes, making someone else uncomfortable or not taking ‘no’ as an answer, saying something and calling out behaviour can support the victim, and reframe the behaviour as wrong.  

An active bystander will do four things; notice, identify, assess, and step up.  

NOTICE  

Notice what is happening, what your friends tell you or how others behave.  

IDENTIFY  

Try to identify whether the situation is a problem, asking yourself if you would act in this way, if this behaviour is acceptable or if everyone involved feels comfortable with what’s happening.  

ASSESS  

Assess the situation and whether it would be dangerous for you to step in and say something. Decide how you will intervene, whether its intervening in the moment or checking in at a later date.  

STEP UP  

Step up, and step in. Choosing to leave a situation, offering assistance and listening to the victim, calling out your friends negative behaviour – these are all ways to intervene. 

But how can we be active bystanders online? 

One thing I think we’ve all realised spending more and more time online is that, while the internet is a good place most of the time, there are little pockets of hate that ruin it for all of us. So when you see someone being horribly rude to someone else online, maybe try to apply the principles of being an active bystander: 

  1. Notice 

  1. Identify 

  1. Assess 

  1. Step up 

Example: You’re scrolling Twitter and you see a friend of yours using racially offensive terms in their posts. What do you do? 

A – do nothing just keep scrolling. 

B – privately message them explaining why using this language is wrong and why you think they should reconsider. 

C – comment on the post explaining why using this language is wrong and why you think they should reconsider. 

The answer is: you could really do any/all of these options. Sometimes we are just not in the right headspace for an online confrontation and that is ok, but if you are up to it, you should consider saying something. You can do so in a calm and polite manner that does not put too much blame on your friend but imagine if another friend of yours – a person of colour – saw those posts. How would it make them feel?  

Consider saying and doing something on behalf of that friend. 

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Domestic Violence in a Pandemic 

Anecdotal evidence from police and domestic violence hotlines has shown a massive increase in reports of domestic violence since the worldwide lockdown forced toxic families and couples to remain in homes together indefinitely. If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, there are places that students can go and people that can give you advice.  

How do I know if what I am experiencing is domestic violence? 

For many, the hardest part of being in a domestically violent relationship or home is coming to therealisation that it is such. In our lives we will have many conflicts with our loved ones but how do we understand when that crosses the line?  

Physical violence is the most obvious example of domestic violence however, violence can also be in the form of verbal abuse, control of movement and/or finances, and/or the threat of violence. Some signs of a violent relationship or home include: 

  • Excessive jealousy 

  • Controlling behaviour such as requiring phone passwords, and monitoring movements 

  • Constant belittling and humiliating 

  • Physical violence  

  • Exposure to physical violence of other members of the household 

  • Discouraging from seeing/talking to others 

If you feel unsafe, talk to someone about this – a friend or a professional – and if you wish to leave your home, there are some practical ways to do this. 

I need advice on what to do next 

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and need some advice on what to do next, there are many places you can go to get some advice on how to do that and where would be best to go. 

For a professional opinion, feel free to call the 24/7 national domestic and family violence hotline 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) to talk to a confidential counsellor.  

On campus, feel free to contact Arc Legal & Advocacy at advice@arc.unsw.edu.au. Arc Legal & Advocacy can help you navigate special considerations if you have been impacted by domestic violence and may be able to help you find crisis accommodation if you seek it.  

If I need to leave, where could I go? 

If you decide you would like to leave, there are places that you can go. First and foremost, you should look to stay with a friend or loved one. Unfortunately, places in NSW’s domestic violence shelters are often sparse and as such, you may struggle to find a place.  

That being said, there are excellent services in Sydney that provide emergency housing for people in crisis. If you need emergency housing, feel free to call Link 2 Home homelessness services at 1800 152 152 who may be able to provide you with housing. 

Additionally, as a student, you can contact Arc Legal & Advocacy who may be able to help you obtain temporary crisis accommodation.  

Resources 

  • Domestic Violence Line: Ph: 1800 656 463 

  • Family Crisis Service: Ph: 1800 066 777 

  • 1800 RESPECT: Ph: 1800 737 732 

  • Family Relationship Advice Line: Ph: 1800 050 321 

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Revenge Porn 

With the invent of technology has come many improvements to the way we live our lives but unfortunately, it has also opened up new opportunities for people to exploit others and commit crimes. One of those new online exploitations is Image-based abuse (also known as ‘revenge porn’) and it is extremely serious. In many cases image-based abuse is not about ‘revenge’, nor is it restricted to ‘porn’, and while it is mostly about the sharing of images without consent, it can also include the threat of an image being shared.  

Now that a lot more of our dating life has migrated online, it is important more than ever that we all understand our rights online and when we or the people we are engaging with online might be overstepping our boundaries and the boundaries of the law.  

What you need to know:  

  • Posting nude images without the other person’s permission is illegal regardless of the person’s age or whether they originally consented to them being taken. If you post an intimate image of someone online without permission you face 3 years jail.  

  • If you learn there is a photo of you posted online without your permission, you can do something about it: (A) If it has been posted on social media, you can contact the relevant website and ask to have it removed, and (B) contact the Office of the E-Safety Commissioner or the police to report the matter. It’s easy to feel embarrassed and ashamed if this happens to you, but know that you are not to blame. You should be safe engaging in normal sexual activity – this is the perpetrators’ fault alone.  

To receive assistance in removing an image online and reporting a matter, visit the E-Portal through the Office of the E-Safety Commissioner: esafety.gov.au/image-based-abuse 

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Respect on Social Media 

So you’re online 23 hours out of 24 hours of the day. Who isn’t in these times? But while the world wide web has given us incredible things like Tik Tok, Vine, and Netflix, it has also given us a bump in our pinkie fingers from holding up phones (seriously, feel your finger) and serious disrespect and animosity.  

Who hasn’t been scrolling through Twitter, seen someone say something outrageous and thought – watch out random person I’ve never met, I’m about to end you with facts and logic. But take a second before you absolutely wreck that Twitter user and think – is what I am doing potentially harmful? 

Things to avoid while online: 

  • Personal attacks – sure, a good political debate online is fun and totally appropriate but if you start veering into territory that attacks others on a personal level then it is no longer fun and games.  

  • Comments based on appearance – there is no reason to comment on anyone’s physical appearance online unless it’s an obligatory “Yaaas! Queen! You look so good!” to your best mate. 

  • Messaging people you don’t know – unless you have a really good reason, there is no reason to message someone on Facebook that you don’t know. Especially for women, a strange “hey” from a stranger can be annoying at best. 

  • Defensiveness – if someone calls you out online for comments that you have made that were inappropriate, try to accept the criticism with humility. We are all learning and sometimes we will slip up and offend people. That is ok as long as you accept responsibility for this and authentically work to be better. 

  • Making comments that are overtly offensive – truly there is no reason to say things that are obviously going to offend others in the name of being ‘edgy’. Racism, sexism, ableism and homophobia isn’t acceptable on any level.  

It’s more than ok to express your opinions online. You should feel free to speak your mind. That being said, there is a level of respect that you should show to others online and in person. If you feel that what you are saying to someone online would be inappropriate to say in person, then it is probably inappropriate to say online as well. Think about what you are saying and ask yourself if you would feel upset if someone said something similar to you.  

If you expect respect from others, make sure you’re showing the same to them. 

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How to tell if a mate is struggling 

Now more than ever, it’s important to be there for your mates. We are all struggling at the moment – with uni motivation, with loss of employment and increased financial stress, with loss of physical interaction and all this can lead to serious mental health degradation. Even though we cannot physically see one another, doesn’t mean we can’t still be there for one another. But here is how to tell if your mate might need a bit of extra help. 

  • Are they extra withdrawn – messaging you back less and posting on social media less?  

  • Are they awake at strange hours of the night? 

  • Do they seem despairing and sad when you talk to them? 

  • Are they suddenly submitting uni work late or not at all? 

  • Are they staying home and not getting out of the house for exercise? 

  • Are they drinking more than is healthy? 

 

How to have a conversation with them: 

Ask if they want to talk about it. It might be that they don’t want to and that’s ok too. Maybe you’re not the right person for them to talk to, but you can make some suggestions. 

Listen. Silence may seem awkward at first but think of it as a chance for both of you to gather your thoughts. If you’re finding it difficult to understand what they’re talking about, it’s okay to ask them to explain further. 

Support is the most important thing you can offer and if they refuse, help them explore their options for how they could begin to feel better. 

(From Beyond Blue) 

For more tips about how to have the conversation, read through Beyond Blue’s ‘Having the conversation’ guide here

When having this conversation, it’s important to ensure that you are ok as well. This can be a really hard conversation to have with someone and it might be important to do the following: 

  • Debrief with someone – it could be a trusted loved one or a professional 

  • You might need to get advice for what to do next or you might be feeling emotional after the conversation. If so, reach out to someone: 

  • Headspace – Access the website here 

  • Beyond Blue - Call 1800 512 348 or go to Beyond Blue’s website to talk to a professional or join the Beyond Blue online community conversation here

  • Kid’s Helpline - Access the website or call 1800 55 1800 to speak to a counsellor at any time. 

  • For Mandarin specific counselling, click here

  • Lifeline – contact by phoning 13 11 14. 

Beyond the conversation 

Now that you’ve had the conversation, there is a couple of things you can do to make your mate feel like they are cared for.  

  • Make sure you call/message/skype them regularly 

  • Maybe ask to play a video game with them or watch a movie together over Watch Party 

  • Send them some fun memes to lift their spirits 

  • Just let them know that if they ever need to chat about their mental health, that you are there for them 

All you really need to do as a good mate is listen and support them. And look after yourself.

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Emergency Contacts 

On Campus

Counselling & Psychological Services (CAPS): Ph: 9385 5418 

UNSW Security: Ph: 9385 6666 (emergency) | Ph: 9385 6000 (non-emergency) 

UNSW Disability Services: Ph: 9385 4734 

UNSW Health Service: Ph: 9385 5425 

UNSW Sexual Misconduct Reporting Portal 


Off Campus

24 HOUR CRISIS SERVICES

Lifeline: Ph: 13 11 14 

Emergency (Police/Ambulance/Fire): Ph: 000 | Ph: 112 (mobile phones with no network coverage) 

Domestic Violence Line: Ph: 1800 656 463 

Child Protection Helpline: Ph: 132 111 

Family Crisis Service: Ph: 1800 066 777 

 

SEXUAL ABUSE / ASSAULT SERVICES

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia:: Ph: 1800 424 017 

Sexual Assault Counselling Australia: Ph: 1800 211 028 

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse: Ph: 1300 657 380 

Abortion Grief Counselling: Ph: 1300 363 550 

1800 RESPECT: Ph: 1800 737 732 

Eastern and Central Sydney Sexual Assault Service: Ph: 9515 9040 

Northern Sydney Sexual Assault Service: Ph: 9462 9477 

Southern Sydney Sexual Assault Service: Ph: 9113 2494 

Westmead Sexual Assault Service: Ph: 9845 5555 

 

INTERSECTIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES 

Another Closet 

The Transgender Anti-Violence Project: Ph: 1800 069 115 

Transcultural Mental Health Centre: Ph: (02) 9912 3851