DCU students launch new campaign ‘My dress is not a Yes’

A group of DCU students are tackling the issue of sexual consent through the launch of a new campaign, “My Dress is not a Yes”.

The campaign has been set up by second year Health and Society students to raise awareness of sexual consent amongst third level students.

As part of the campaign, organisers have set up a Facebook page, created a promotional video, and have been working with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

They also created a voxpop asking students what consent means to them. Recorded answers included “when both people make an agreement”, “being capable”, and “being in the right sense of mind to say yes or no”.

However, one of the organisers, Luisne Mac Conghail, told The College View that the responses they received highlighted that most students are still unable to define the true meaning of consent.

“A lot of people were taken aback by the question, and didn’t exactly know what the answer would be,” she said. “Because we don’t have an exact definition in Irish law, I feel like it’s kind of a shady area.”

A survey was carried out on 100 students across campus as part of the campaign, and found that 48 per cent of female students regularly experience uninvited or inappropriate physical contact such as kissing, hugging and touching.

Seventeen  per cent of males said that they are often subject to this behaviour, while 56 per cent have experienced it a few times.

Seventy eight per cent of females surveyed also said that they have proceeded in a sexual encounter because they felt pressured, compared to 22 per cent of men.

DCU students are not the only ones addressing this issue, as UCD’s Student Union recently held their first ever slutwalk on their campus.

Around 100 students took part in the march, which was part of UCD SU’s #NotAskingForIt campaign.

The topic of consent has been prevalent on Irish college campus this academic year due to the “Ask Consent” campaign, which was launched in September by Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald, along with the USI and several rape crisis centres across the country.

Lisa O’Donnell

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