Let’s talk about consent, baby

TCDSU Welfare Officer Damien McClean chats about the upcoming consent workshops in Trinity Hall and why you should check them out

During Freshers’ Week, the Students’ Union will be running workshops for first year residents of Trinity Hall on the topic of sexual consent. Sexual consent is an agreement to engage in sexual activity which must be freely given and reversible: a person can revoke consent at any time before or during sex. All involved should be informed, enthusiastic and know specifically what they are agreeing to.

Many students starting in college have yet to have their first sexual experience. A lot of students feel pressured to have sex, whether by peers or by themselves. Not everyone has the confidence to speak up about what they are comfortable with, and we want our workshops to help with that.

The workshops will be run by a student volunteer facilitator and a counsellor from the Student Counselling Service (SCS). They cover the idea of giving consent, when it is given and when it isn’t. We help students on how to handle the “grey areas” when it can be unclear whether consent is given or not.

I know students will be plagued with workshops during Freshers’, but consent is a bouquet of banter. The feedback we got last year was mostly positive, and we’ve changed what didn’t really work. There are group activities, break-out sessions and general giddiness. Sex can be awkward to talk about, and we all cringe when we think back to the sex talks we’ve gotten in school; I promise you it’s not that. We want students to actually join in and to enjoy the workshops. We split the workshops by house so it’s a great way to meet your housemates. What more is there to say after you tell them your county, course and what points you got?

Simply put, there is a lot of pressure associated with having sex, and these workshops are about removing that pressure and just about letting you be comfortable and confident having sex.