NUIG release consent video after finding 37% of students think intoxicated women can still give consent

Debate about what consent actually means has been a major issue in Ireland and beyond this year.

NUI Galway researchers made headlines last August when they found that out of 3,500 students in Ireland, 70% said a couple who had 28 standard drinks were able to consent.

They also found that 37% of students believe a woman who has been drinking heavily can still give consent.

With the Christmas holidays coming up, the researchers, who run the SMART Consent programme, have released a video highlighting that consent is OMFG (Ongoing, Mutual, and Freely Given).

    The clip breaks down the message of OMFG, namely that consent is:

  • Ongoing: Not assumed, always reversible
  • Mutual: Not one-sided
  • Freely Given: Not drunk, drugged or under pressure

Dr Pádraig MacNeela from the School of Psychology, who helped develop the video, said: “Up to 90% of students who have read our consent stories have said it’s ok to ask for consent. In our workshops, we talk to students about what that means, and they tell us it means saying things like ‘are you ok with this’ or ‘do you want to have sex’.

"Active consent is about feeling confident in what you want, how you are going to say it, and communicating with your partner.”

Dr Siobhán O’Higgins from the School of Psychology and Dr Charlotte McIvor from Drama and Theatre Studies, added: “We hope that people remember and practice Ongoing, Mutual, and Freely Given even in the midst of all the celebrations.

"So if anyone decides that they want to share intimacies with someone else, we urge you to be mindful and create mutually satisfying and safe experiences for everyone involved. And remember that consent should always be OMFG, not just under the mistletoe.”

The NUI Galway SMART Consent team have trained more than 250 facilitators who have delivered Consent Workshops to over 3,000 students in NUI Galway, GMIT, UCC, DCU, UL, QUB, TCD, NCAD, AIT, Queens, and the University of Ulster.

SMART Consent workshops were created through research led by Dr MacNeela on sexual consent and sexual experiences of third-level students in Ireland, in partnership with organisations including Rape Crisis Network Ireland.

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