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Press Statement

Thursday, 25 June 2020

In response to the alarming results of the USI’s “Sexual Experience Survey” on sexual violence and harassment experience of students in higher education, UCDSU is calling on the incoming government to re-introduce the Provision of Objective Sex Education bill as a matter of urgency.

Ruairí Power, Welfare Officer, UCD Students’ Union said;

‘It is a shocking and upsetting revelation that 29% of females, 10% of males, and 28% of non-binary students in higher education reported “non-consenual penetration” in the USI survey. This year for the first time in UCD, a 90-minute mandatory bystander training course will be provided to all incoming first years. While this is a very positive development, students need to receive comprehensive education about consent at a much earlier stage, we cannot continue to fire fight this issue at Third Level and not seek to resolve it at an earlier stage. Enacting the Provision of Objective Sex Education bill, which lapsed when the last Dáil term expired, would be a welcome first step from the next government to ensure that students have access to objective and accurate information about relationships, sexuality and consent in primary and post-primary settings.’

Leighton Gray, Campaigns and Engagement Officer, UCD Students’ Union said;

‘The stark results of the USI’s Sexual Experience Survey is greater than a Higher Education issue. Ireland, as a country, is facing a huge problem with rape culture. Consent needs to be taught from a young age. It is too late to introduce the concept of consent at second or third level. That is the approach we have now and it is clearly failing. We need to learn to respect others’ boundaries as a core building block of our development as children to even have a chance of ending rape culture in Ireland. So many of our students are living in fear, so many of our students are living in silence. UCD students must commit to playing our part, alongside other universities and our government, to ending Irish rape culture.’