“The majority of Irish college students believe that someone who has consumed as much as a bottle of vodka, 14 pints of beer or three bottles of wine still has the capacity to give consent to sex,” or so says the Indo. Well, either the paper is telling porkys or the standard of intelligence at Third Level is at an all time low. Lying journo’s or thick students, take your pick.
After three bottles of wine in one evening I would not be conscious, never mind in the mood for sex and I’m a seasoned drinker of the old school. And yet the NUI Galway study led by Dr Pádraig McNeela, titled ‘Are Consent Workshops Sustainable and Feasible in Third Level Institutions?’, includes surveys with more than 3,500 students at sexual consent workshops, devised by NUI Galway and held at four colleges nationally is prompting some serious calls for action. The report lists among its findings,
1) 70pc of female and 40pc of male students experienced sexual hostility or crude gender harassment during their college years;
Firstly, I know of none of the lads either in school or college who ever claimed that they experienced sexual hostility or crude gender harassment. Most would have been grateful for the attention in my day but it never happened. If 70% of the corresponding females have had such an experience then something basic has gone terribly wrong one way or another.
2) 25pc of women students experienced unwanted sexual contact or attempts at unwanted sexual contact through the use or threat of violence;
The use or threat of violence to obtain sex is called, in legal circles, rape or attempted rape. If a quarter of female college goers really have been raped or the attempt made on them then the campus’s should be flooded with Gardai bearing arrest warrants.
3) 71pc of female and 63pc of male students were dissatisfied with the sex education they received at school;
Ah, did your Mums and Pops do anything regarding such education of their precious offspring? It should not be up to the teachers to tell the little brats about sex especially when there is so little time to cover the rest of an overcrowded curriculum.
4) 67pc did not consider a female character in a story too drunk to give consent after she consumed 28 standard drinks – the equivalent of a bottle of vodka, 14 pints of beer or more than three bottles of wine.
How could you believe anyone, particularly a woman, with their lower alcohol tolerance, could give a coherent consent to anything when they are that pissed? The women couldn’t consent and the lads couldn’t get it up anyway, end of story.
There’s a problem though. If there is even a modicum of truth to these findings then we are looking at its symptoms and fallout, not the core problem. I suggest the core problem is a lack of lack of basic self-respect in student life today. You cannot offer respect to anyone else if you don’t first have respect for yourself. I have to think that if these misbehaving students really know deep down they are just useless little shits then the idea of right and wrong will mean nothing to them. In that situation, gratuitous sex for its own sake with the threat of violence included if they don’t get what they want would probably not present itself as a problem, much less a wrong.
The other aspect of it is all that drink. Alcohol was one of the Good Lord’s better ideas but the purpose of it is to enjoy and savour it. To throw three bottles of wine down the hatch at one sitting you would need to be drinking the stuff out of pint glasses. That is not what you do with wine. So maybe instead of sexual consent classes, as proposed, what these kids need is classes in self respect where alcohol could be served in portions that could be appreciated and enjoyed and they can learn a little about both.
Now there’s some joined up thinking so it will never happen.