1 in 12 female students fall victim to rape

The Union of Students Ireland (USI) launched their ‘Say Something’ card, following research that shows that one in 12 female students are victims of rape or attempted rape.

The card, which was launched in IT Tralee last week, is designed to provide students with information if they find themselves in a situation where sexual assault or rape has taken place.

30,000 cards are set to be delivered to Students’ Unions across the country over the coming weeks.

The card first became available last year, but has been re-launched due to its success.

Speaking to The College View, USI president, Kevin Donoghue said that it is vital that people continue to talk about consent and what to do if they find themselves victim to sexual assault.

“There is no grey area with consent,” O’ Donoghue said. “People find themselves getting into elongated discussions about what the definition of consent is, and there is no discussion to be had about it.”

“Not saying no is not consent, and allowing it to happen is not consent.”

He added that colleges can only do so much to raise the issue of consent.

“It is a societal issue,” he said. “It’s not a case of this institution should be doing more or that group should be doing more, it’s a collective responsibility to ensure that people have these conversations.”

The research, which was carried out by the USI on 1,811 women and 926 men,
revealed that less than three per cent of those who had experienced unwanted sexual contact had reported it to the Gardai, a figure which O’ Donoghue said he was “particularly shocked” by.

Reasons given by those surveyed for not reporting the incidents included fear for being blamed for what happened, and not believing that the incident was serious enough.

Some 36 per cent of students experienced unwanted sexual contact on more than one occasion, while 60 per cent of cases involved the perpetrator being under the influence of alcohol.

A significantly lower number of men reported similar incidents, with less than 1 per cent reporting rape or attempted rape.

Lisa O’Donnell

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