Consider Consent

Consent is not a subject that should be lightly tip-toed around, as rape cases rise and reported cases fall, people should not fear standing up for their consent as it is their basic human right. Hannah Kelly addresses the pressing issue of giving consent, and how universities across Ireland are beginning to implement mandatory consent classes for students.

Smiling nervously I angled my body out of his uninvited reach. Unfazed by my clear hesitation he worked his creepy magic and unhooked another shield of protection. As he leaned in again, I turned my head and made it clear both verbally and physically; I do not want to do this.

According to CSO statistics, reports of sexual offences were at all all time high in 2015, with a 30 per cent increase since 2005. Reports of rape have also increased by nearly 100 since 2005. We need to look at consent and how we teach it, or these numbers will remain our stark reality.

The sad truth is many sexual assaults go unreported, largely due to the stigma surrounding it. It is all too common for victim blaming to play a huge part in rape cases. Many people believe men cannot be raped, it matters what a victim was wearing and how much alcohol they consumed.

This dangerous view of sexual assault can only be helped with education around consent and what it means. Simply put, consent is permission for something to happen with agreement from all involved. It is important to add that someone cannot consent if they are drunk, underage, or not of sound mind.

Fortunately, universities such as UCD and Trinity College have recently introduced plans for mandatory consent classes. Even DCU has started introducing the classes, although as of yet they are not mandatory. By supporting these initiatives and keeping ourselves educated, we can help eliminate rape culture altogether.

Hannah Kelly

Image Credit: Weheartit

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