Tuesday, 12 March 2019
UCD STUDENTS' UNION RESPONDS TO 'CONSENT - A MOBILE APPLICATION' EMAIL
Barry Murphy, Students' Union President said;
‘UCDSU was appalled at the content of the message sent to our students. Even more worrying is the idea behind the app. We understand that the message of consent can be a difficult one to grasp, which is why we provide education campaigns as well as lobby the government for better consent education from a young age.
This app will not solve any consent related issues. Consent goes a lot further than the click of a button, or two clicks, or three. It is about having conversations with people we have sexual experiences with, it’s about mutual respect and understanding that everyone's boundaries are different and that feelings can change from moment to moment.
If you focus on a victim/perpetrator dialogue, as this app appears to, you are not advocating for consent. Never mind that a person could be coerced into agreeing to consent via an app, you are also misinforming the ‘perpetrator’ and telling them that once they have a click they have consent-which is not true. You will in fact create more perpetrators and worse still they won’t understand why they have done something wrong.
To put this into an example; sexual acts vary, you may consent to having sex and once it begins the person could do a wide range of unwanted sex acts and claim it is OK because you consented to having sex at the beginning. It is also not possible in an app to retract consent. This is each person’s right. Consent is something which must be maintained throughout the experience and each person can stop at any point.
Consent is quite simple and quite difficult all at once. It needs to be part of our early building blocks when we are developing as children. We need to learn early on about how to interact with one another better. Through our families, in our homes, with our friends, in our schools and in all aspects of community involvement.
A consent app will not solve this issue and I have no doubt it will do nothing but further the issue. I implore those involved in creating the app to find another avenue to promote the message of consent.’