Let’s talk about Respect

“R.E.S.P.E.C.T find out what it means to me” – catchy and true.

Aretha Franklin clearly knew what she was doing because respect lies at the heart of every relationship. Respecting yourself and your lover is important. Remember, you have the right to:

  • Change your mind whenever you want to (and communicate it!).
  • Ask for a date, but not act badly if the answer is “no”.
  • Refuse a date without feeling guilty.
  • Suggest activities.
  • Refuse activities, even if your date is excited about them.
  • Have your own feelings.
  • Have your limits respected.
  • Tell your partner that you want physical closeness and/or sex.
  • Refuse sex, or any other intimacy, anytime, for any reason.
  • Have a relationship as equals.
  • Act or feel one way with one person and a different way with another.

In short, be clear about your feelings and intentions and respect those of your partner, lover or friend. Be open to the possibility that their feelings as well as your own might change over time – and that’s okay.

You can learn more about Respect and Safety by completing QUT’s online module or attending MATE Bystander Training. Learn more at qut.to/respectandsafety

Respectful communication works both ways:


P1 - “Hi, can I buy you a drink?”

P2 - “oh, no i’m good, thanks anyway”

P1 - “No problem, have a good night”


Examples of disrespectful communication:


P1 - “Hey babe, I’ll get your next drink?”

P2 - “umm, no thanks”

P1 - “Bitch”


P1 - “Hi, can I get you a drink”

P2 - “ew, no”, “as if”, “yeah like that's going to happen”


Respect privacy

Respect personal space

Respect someone’s decision

Respect a person’s right to wear what they want, it isn’t an invitation to judge them or violate their personal space.

Respect others beliefs, they don’t have to be the same as yours.


Respect is simple, treat other how you want to be treated, If you wouldn’t want it said or done to you, don’t do it to others


Respect links closely with consent and good communication.


Consent and Communication

Have you ever seen a newborn horse trying to walk for the first time? It’s awkward (and a little cute), but they get the hang of it super quick! Asking for consent and learning to improve the way you seek and give consent can feel the same way. Here’s a few tips we can all apply, regardless of where you’re at with someone.



Discuss clearly with your lover what you’re into as well as your sexual health status. Know, understand and respect that they might not be into everything you are. Be open about where you see things going and ask them to do the same. Also ask what you should look out for if they start to become uncomfortable. We all know how we react when we don’t like something but we’re all unique in the way we communicate this. Make sure you know your lover’s ‘yes’ language and their ‘no’ language, and that they know yours as well.



Good manners are important in and out of the bedroom, so start by asking whether you can touch____; kiss_____; do this or that, and once you’re in the throes of passion, verbally check in to see if they’re into it, and how they are feeling. Reading body language is useful, but so is asking outright.



If your partner’s not into it – whether they ask for you to stop or become withdrawn, for example – back off and give them some space. Try to see the situation from their point of view. You might be disappointed, but don’t pressure them into doing anything further. There’s no need to get defensive or cross. Instead, take a breath, stop what you’re doing and relax. Talk to your partner and ask them what they’re feeling, ask if there’s anything you should change in the future and most of all, listen.



You have the power to decide whether what’s happening, or what might happen, is okay with you or not. If you feel uncomfortable or you are asked to do something or go somewhere when you don’t have all the details, you have the right to say no – whether you scream it from the rooftops, say “no thank you”, “no sorry”, “not tonight”, “not now”, “we are never ever ever getting back together” – it’s all a no, and it all needs to be respected. Remember even if you have consented to something already, you are allowed to stop that activity at any time. Consenting once doesn’t mean you are consenting continuously. It’s your right to say “no” and you don’t need to feel guilty for doing so.

If you are being or have been sexually harassed or assaulted or somebody is making you feel uncomfortable, there is support available.

Immediate support in emergencies

Police - 000

QUT Security - 3138 8888

QUT support services

Equity Harassment and Discrimination Advisors - 3138 2019 - discriminationadvisor@qut.edu.au

QUT free counselling service - 3138 2019 - student.counselling@qut.edu.au

Or make an appointment online 

Use the online reporting form

Security can escort you around campus if you feel unsafe. Give them a call on 3138 5585 or download the SafeZone app.

Read more about:

Sexual Harrassment

Sexual Assault



Online Abuse

Helping Others