Trinity’s policy on upskirting discussed at TCDSU town hall

The discussion item was brought forward by TCDSU’s Joint Honours Convenor Catherine Arnold

*Trigger Warning* – this article contains topics discussing sexual assualt 

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) discussed College’s policy on “upskirting” at this evening’s town hall. The town hall was held after TCDSU Council failed to reach quorum for its scheduled meeting.

The discussion item was brought forward by TCDSU’s Trinity Joint Honours (TJH) Convenor Catherine Arnold.

According to the item, “upskirting is the practice in which a photograph is taken of the genitals of an individual facing up their skirt without their consent or knowledge”. 

“This form of sexual assault poses many issues for any processes of reprimand.”

Speaking to Trinity News today, Arnold said: “Essentially, I am worried about how this kind of issue can be dealt with to prioritise the victim.”

“A non-consensual photo has been taken of one’s most intimate area, but what does that actually mean moving forward? Can the phone be confiscated quickly and searched or are we expecting there to be some cctv of the assault taking place? In the case that the phone can be confiscated, we can’t be sure that the evidence wasn’t deleted.”

“It seems to be a perfect crime,” she continued. “It’s gaslighting to the victim because the perpetrator can deny upfront what happened, and delete the evidence if questioned, but there’s a fundamental assault that has taken place”, Arnold noted.

“Like so many instances of public sexual harassment, there’s an expectation that these problems are illusive, rare and difficult to solve so victims should just learn to put up with it and I don’t agree with that to say the least.” 

“I want to highlight these issues directly and demystify the process that prevents so many students from seeking and attaining justice for what has happened”, she concluded.

Speaking at the town hall this evening, Arnolds said: “It’s a really complicated issue…and really important to get out and address.”

“Sexual assualt is a really prevalent issue, and is often regarded as something elusive and can’t really be solved so victims just have to put up with it”, she continued.

TCDSU STEM Convenor Zoë Cummins added that she thinks “this is an important point that needs to be brought [to Council]”.

She asked if Arnold had “asked the welfare and equality officer about this [or] brought it to their attention to have it in the dignity and respect policy”.

Faye Murphy, Junior Sophistor class rep for Molecular Medicine said up-skirting is “something female students and non binary students have endured” and added Council should “definitely talk about image based sexual assault as they definitely go hand in hand”.

“Any policy that goes forward should include both, not just upskirting”, Murphy concluded.

Bella Salerno

Bella Salerno is currently a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Fresh Middle Eastern, Jewish and Islamic Civilisations and French student.