TCD and sexual consent classes

 

Sir, – I know Irish educational standards are in decline, but that Trinity College Dublin should require all first-year students to attend mandatory lessons on consenting to sex is a new low (“TCD may introduce ‘mandatory’ sexual consent classes”, January 29th). If an adult does not know the meaning of the word “no”, they have no place in any third-level institute.

By forcing people to undertake sex consent lessons, TCD is treating all students as potential sex offenders. This is wrong and another example of third-level institutions treating their adult students as schoolchildren.

I would not wish for my children to attend a university where it admitted students who did not know the meaning of “no”, or to attend a university where its students did not know right from wrong. Students should be treated with respect and not humiliated by being forced to sit through this embarrassing nonsense. – Yours, etc,

JOHN DEVLIN,

Dublin 2.

Sir, – With regard to Finola Meredith’s article on the introduction of sexual consent classes in Trinity College Dublin, I would remind her that it was the college students themselves, both male and female, who requested these classes and the college authorities who facilitated their request (“Sexual consent classes – neo-puritan preaching won’t stop rape”, Opinion & Analysis, January 29th). It is important to recognise that college students entering adulthood and adult sexual relationships will need and want support and guidance in negotiating and defining boundaries for themselves and others.

The statistics regarding the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland are stark, and I for one welcome any initiative which attempts to combat sexual violence in our society.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre accompanied 303 victims of recent rape and sexual assault to the Rotunda Hospital in 2015, a 37 per cent rise in comparison to the 2014 numbers. Research tells us that only one in 10 report the crime.

I congratulate the Trinity Students’ Union on its courage in taking this initiative. I would hope that these classes will open up a conversation for bridging gaps in students’ knowledge regarding informed consent, so that they will encounter less ignorance, shame and guilt and more enjoyment and pleasure during their college years.

I agree with Finola Meredith’s point that one of the underlying issues regarding consent awareness in universities is “the absence of thorough, open and honest sex education in school”. However, I would suggest that she attend one of these classes in Trinity with an open mind, and I look forward to reading what she would write then about her experience. – Yours, etc,

ELLEN O’MALLEY

DUNLOP,

Chief Executive,

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre,

Lower Leeson Street,

Dublin 2

Sir, – The decision by Trinity Hall [Trinity College Dublin student accommodation] to introduce sexual consent workshops for fresher students is to be welcomed. It follows the lead taken by the student unions at Oxford and Cambridge, which in 2014 introduced equivalent workshops, which have since spread to other universities and colleges in the United Kingdom.

However, while these workshops are to be welcomed, in truth it is a case of being too little and too late. Workshops on the subject of consent and the law relating to sexual offences should be provided to pupils in all secondary schools. – Yours, etc,

NIALL NELIGAN,

Lecturer in Criminal Law,

Dublin Institute

of Technology,Dublin 2.