Let's Talk About Consent

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Consent. A hot topic at the moment in the Irish media, and for a reason. 
"21% of Irish people think that sex without consent is acceptable in certain circumstances"
 A shocking statistic that needs to be addressed.

I recently stumbled upon a video that summed up consent quite well, using a cup of tea as an analogy for sex- it makes a striking point.

The current interest in consent is one that came to my attention through Louise O' Neill. I read her book 'Asking For It' after a friend's recommendation.. It was an interesting read because the main character, who is definitely unlikeable, gets sexually assaulted and raped.. You don't want to feel sorry for her but you do. Then her documentary on RTE caught the attention of the media, creating a stir within the nation about this idea of consent, she got us talking.

From a 20 year old girl's perspective in an Irish university, its frightening how much it effects me.

Going out on a night out- the hunt to find something to wear begins and I finally settle on an outfit- too little? I'm a slut, too much? I'm a prude.

When alcohol is involved, it gets worse. Nightclub situations end up with you being followed, harassed and touched inappropriately through drunken slurs, having to insist that you have a boyfriend for them to leave you alone. A culture that everyone just seems to accept and think is normal.

How is this normal?

Although there is this idea that rapists are those who hop out of bushes in the night when they see their pray walking home alone- but they aren't just that- offenders are people you know, even friends which creates a strange dynamic. It stirs shame and fear- what happens if we expose them? We live in a world where Brock Turner got released from prison after just three months, his dad pleading to the judge that he shouldn't be severely punished for '20 minutes of action'. Why would anyone want to come out with such an allegation? Although I used the American example which may seem too far fetched, let me bring it back home. We hear of sexual assault cases but the problem is the reaction to them:
"She's such an attention seeker".
"She's a liar".
"She was asking for it" 

Lets keep the conversation going.

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