Here’s why FRIES is the most important thing you will look at this week

Content Warning – sexual violence 

This week is Sexual Violence Awareness Week (SVAW). It is an opportunity to reflect on the harm that can be caused to individuals and communities when sexual violence occurs. Sexual violence includes both sexual assault and sexual harassment. For more information on what sexual violence includes, take a look at the sexual harm section of the UC website here. 

Sexual violence occurs when no consent is provided, so understanding the importance of consent and how it works is fundamental to healthy sex. 

Here is an acronym that highlights some important components of consent:  

Freely given – consent must be given without any force, pressure, or coercion 

Reversible – you can take back your consent at any time. Just because you have given your consent for something once it does not mean you have to do it again, and just because you may consent to one activity does not mean that your consent continues if the activity changes in any way.  

Informed – you need to know what you are consenting to. There should not be anything hidden from you. 

Enthusiastic – the word ‘yes’ alone doesn’t always guarantee legal consent. Making sure the people involved give an enthusiastic yes will help you to make sure they are not giving their consent under pressure, force, or coercion 

Safe – the whole consent process should feel physically, mentally, and emotionally safe. Remember the law too – you cannot give consent if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol (more on that later this week), under the age of 16 or under force, pressure, or coercion. 

FRIES is not the answer to everything but it does set some good groundwork for what a healthy and safe consent process looks like. 

George Haswell
Kaihāpai Oranga | Health and Wellbeing Promoter 


Support for students 

UC Sexual Harm Support webpage – here 

Atawhai Ākonga | Student Care – 03 369 3388, 

Māori student support – 03 369 1445, 

Pacific student support – 03 369 1445, 

Rainbow student support – 03 369 1445, 

Te Whare Hauora | UC Health Centre – 03 369 4444, 

Chaplaincy services – Rev Dr John Fox, 027 357 1628, 

UCSA Welfare and Advocacy Service – 03 369 0555, 

Safe to Talk – Ph 0800 004 334 or txt 4334 

Ministry of Health Need to talk? Free phone or text 1737 

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357 for free, 24/7, confidential support 

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