The results of a recent Eurobarometer poll have brought to light the “alarming” attitudes towards sexual consent and assault in Ireland. The report was carried out in June and published yesterday to mark International Day to End Violence Against Women. It was taken by 1,002 people in Ireland.
With regards to consent, 21% of Irish people believe that having sexual intercourse without consent is “ok” sometimes.
Other figures were published, highlighting that 11% of Irish people feel that consent is not required when a partner is intoxicated or on drugs. An additional 9% felt that sex without consent could be justified if a person is wearing “provocative” clothing, or if they voluntarily go home with someone. 7% of Irish and EU respondents maintain that sexual intercourse without consent is justified if the person in question is walking alone at night.
Attitudes towards the victims of sexual assault suggest similar beliefs amongst respondents. 18% of Irish people believe generally the victim is the one to provoke violence, and 23% of people surveyed believed that women often fabricate or exaggerate claims of sexual abuse or rape.
According to the European Commission’s website, these figures represent “the persistence of victim-blaming and alarming attitudes about consent”.
According to a Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) sexual assault survey from 2014, where 1,038 students were surveyed on the topic of sexual assault, it was found that one-in-four students have been sexually assaulted.
Furthermore, 31% of females who engaged in the survey admitted that they had been subject to unwanted physical contact whilst at Trinity, in comparison to 8% for male students.
The report also indicated a similar misunderstanding or ignorance for sexual assault amongst students, where one-in -3 respondents – 8% of women and 7% of men – reported having been stalked or subject to obsessive behaviour. Moreover, one-in-20 respondents said they have been physically mistreated by a partner. This report triggered the TCDSU mandate for sexual consent workshops, which current TCDSU Welfare Officer Aoibhinn Loughlin held for the first time in Trinity Hall during Freshers’ Week.