Sexual consent a major issue in university

New report looks at attitudes in NUI Galway
  • Deborah Condon

Almost one in 10 female students attending a well-known university are certain someone had previous sexual contact with them when they were unable to give consent or stop what was happening because they were passed out, drunk, drugged, incapacitated or asleep, a new report has revealed.

The report on sexual health and attitudes at NUI Galway, includes the results of a survey of adults aged 18-29. This marks the first comprehensive survey of sexual behaviour and sexual assault in an emerging adult college population in this country.

It found that in the past 12 months, 8% of females and 3% of males were certain that someone had sexual contact with them when they were unable to give consent or stop what was happening because they were passed out, drunk, drugged, incapacitated or asleep.

A further 8% of females and 4% of males suspected this had happened, but were uncertain.

The survey also revealed that 35% of males and 27% of females agreed with the statement that ‘guys don't usually intend to force sex on a girl, but sometimes they get too sexually carried away'.

Some 76% of females and 69% of males said that they are less nervous about sex after consuming alcohol, while 35% of females and 58% of males said that they would have sex with people when drunk whom they would not if they were sober.

Some 75% of females and 55% of males said they would be extremely or very likely to confront a friend who plans to give alcohol in order to get sex

"The results of this survey show the incidence of sexual violence and assault are comparable to international studies of college students, and highlight the need for a national study of third level students on this issue.

"Findings on alcohol-related sex consequences, particularly where students report being forced or pressured into sexual activity, highlights the importance of continuing consent education - how it is understood and communicated - and the role of alcohol in sexual decision making," commented Elaine Byrnes, a doctoral researcher at NUI Galway's School of Psychology.

The full report can be viewed here

 


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