The introduction of a new active consent toolkit by NUI Galway is an important step in raising consent awareness, that is according vice-president of NUI Galway Students' Union Róisín Nic Lochlainn.
The toolkit which offers guidance to higher education institutions in developing an active plan on consent, sexual violence and harassment was launched by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris on Monday, and Ms Nic Lochlainn says it is a valuable tool in educating students about sex and consent.
She said; "We are very happy about the launching of the Active* Consent Toolkit because it is something as a Students' Union for which we have been fighting to be introduced for many years. The eLearning module engages with students in a very positive manner so students are encouraged and empowered [to learn about sex and consent] rather than feel shame or embarrassed [to ask questions].
"The findings from the Sexual Experiences Survey were very worrying so this resource will be important for raising sexual education and consent awareness at all third level institutions."
The complex picture of consent is demonstrated by findings from NUI Galway’s ‘Sexual Experiences Survey’ last June that have not been released before that include:
- Some 37 per cent of female college students and 53 per cent of male college students gave a ‘neutral’ or ‘agree’ response when asked whether asking for consent is awkward.
- Some 63 per cent of female college students and 37 per cent of male college students said they were ‘very likely’ to say something to intervene if a friend was taking a drunk person back to their room at a party.
- Some 26 per cent of female college students and 51 per cent of male college students gave a ‘neutral’ or ‘agree’ response to the rape myth that, if a girl initiates kissing or hooking up, she should not be surprised if a guy assumes she wants to have sex.
Dr Charlotte McIvor, Active* Consent Programme co-lead and editor of the Active* Consent Toolkit, NUI Galway said the toolkit offers significant opportunities for learning, culture, and behaviour change in the area of sexual violence and harassment in higher education, not only doubling down on the Active* Consent Programme’s key message that consent is OMFG (ongoing, mutual and freely-given ) through an accessible and comprehensive usable toolkit format but also providing a new fresh vision of how to work together sustainably within and across higher education institutions to achieve lasting change in these areas.”
Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Active* Consent Programme co-lead, NUI Galway, said schools and colleges are important settings for education on positive, active, consent that in turn works against tolerance of sexual violence and harassment.
He said; "The consent framework for colleges is one of the best strategies available internationally for enabling the Higher Education sector to seize the opportunity to achieve this potential – and in providing support for colleges to meet the challenges faced while developing the capacity to do so.
"By providing supports like the Consent Toolkit, we are asking our colleges to embrace change on all levels, to work together to meet the needs of those affected by sexual violence and harassment, and to promote a culture of positive, active consent consistent with healthy development.”
To receive a toolkit email [email protected] and for further information about the Active* Consent Programme, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/activeconsent/ or on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/activeconsent/.