New study finds 8% of females in college in Ireland had non-consensual sex

This is the largest study on sexual behaviour in Irish universities.

A new report on sexual behaviour among college students in Ireland has found that 8% of women have had non-consensual sexual contact  - writes

The SHAG (Sexual Health and Attitudes, Galway) Survey was carried out among students in NUI Galway during 2015 in order to understand college students' attitudes towards sexual consent and alcohol consumption.

The first major Irish study to comprehensively gather information on sex among people aged between 18 and 29, here are some of the key findings reported:

  • In the past 12 months, 8% of females and 3% of males were certain someone had sexual contact with them where they were unable to provide consent or stop what was happening because they were passed out, drugged, drunk, incapacitated or asleep.
  • 31.5% of females and 57% of males find it harder to say “no” to sexual advances after drinking.
  • 50% of females and 58% of males agreethat they would keep moving forward in sexual actions unless their partner stopped them.
  • 43% of females and 64% of males agree that they would not say “no” to communicate consent to sex.
  • 73% of females and 77.5% of males agree that they would ask a partner if they wanted to go back to their place as a way of communicating consent to sex.
  • 12.5% of females and 2.5% of males report having experienced sexual contact where physical force or threats to physically harm them were used.
  • 20% of females and 5% of males report having experienced sexual contact being attempted using physical force that was not successful.
  • 23% of females and 37% of males agree with the statement: “If a girl acts like a slut, eventually she is going to get into trouble”.
  • 27% of females and 35% of males agree with the statement: “Guys don’t usually intend to force sex on a girl, but sometimes they get too sexually carried away”.
  • 21% of females and 24% of males agree with the statement: “There are a lot of false reports to the Gardaí”.

NUI Galway has a total of 13,674 undergraduate students, and of these, 2,330 participated in the survey.

Conducted by Dr. Padraig MacNeela and Elaine Byrnes, the study has been welcomed by Niamh Murtagh, the Union of Students in Ireland's Vice President for Welfare, who said: "Behaviours, attitudes, and discourse on sexual health has changed in Ireland. The new, sex-positive movement among students has paved a way forward for the creation of new initiatives to further develop these conversations.

"For the first time, there is comprehensive data to support the work around sexual health... The SHAG Report demonstrates the necessity of such vital information and will form the backbone of initiatives that will be rolled out in our 3rd level institutions. In turn, this will enable the enrichment of student health, wellbeing and their welfare in college settings."

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