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Rape

Young people believe alcohol facilitates the majority of 'sexual hook ups'

New research into youth sexual behaviour, consent and alcohol finds that Irish young people believe sexual consent is largely ‘unspoken’.

YOUNG PEOPLE ARE totally unable to talk about sex, let alone negotiate consent, finds a new report by the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) on young people, alcohol and sex.

The research, ‘Young People, alcohol and sex: What’s consent got to do with it?’ undertaken by Pádraig MacNeela and his research team in NUI Galway, gives some “shocking” results, says Fiona Neary, RCNI Executive Director.

She said that if action is not taken now by government to deal with the issues, more rapes, that are preventable, will continue to happen.

Unprepared

She added:

The young people who took part in this research told us they were wholly unprepared for the task of negotiating sexual consent and thus were at risk of sexual violence. Naming crimes of rape and sexual violence remains very difficult for young people, other than in a far too narrow, uninformed manner.

Neary added that because of Ireland’s binge-drinking culture young Irish people are reluctant to report crimes and concerns to the appropriate authorities and it is rarely seen as an option, leaving young sex offenders free to reoffend causing trauma and lifelong harm to others.

The research shows that young people said that alcohol consumption is understood to be “a facilitator of the majority of sexual hook ups”.

Unspoken

The report also finds that the majority of young people believe that consent is unspoken and is expected to follow a highly gender stereotyped, heterosexual relationship model – with the male sex urge occupying an especially prominent position alongside a gate keeping female role.

Young people also found sexual violence, that was other than vaginal rape of a female by a male, difficult to name.

In response to the study’s results, the RCNI is launching ‘The Older Child and Sexual Violence: Questions and Challenges’ which they say is the first step the government can take in addressing the “serious gaps and failings in the protection of older children from sexual violence”.

The full findings of the report will be released later today.

Read: Over 2,100 people called rape helpline over Christmas 2012>

Read: Thirteen in court over India gang-rape ordered by tribal leader>

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