A new study from academics at NUI Galway has found that Irish students believe in the principle of sexual consent, but a distinct amount find asking for consent "awkward".
37 percent of female students surveyed, coupled with 53 percent of male students, gave a "neutral" or "agree" response when asked if the prospect of asking for sexual consent was awkward.
The survey showcases a distinct discrepancy between female and male answers when it comes to issues of consent.
When asked about a friend taking a drunk person home on a night out, 63 percent of female students surveyed said they were "very likely" to intervene. The percentage is nearly twice as many as the percentage of males would responded in the same vein.
The study is part of an online active consent programme for all third-level students will be rolled out to institutions this year.
Students will learn the legal definition of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, and how to access support services through the programme.
Speaking on the programme, NUI Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has said that support around sexual consent “is a critical learning component that should be made available to everyone during their university journey. Supporting the safety, health and wellbeing of our students and staff is our top priority.”
The programme's co-lead Dr Pádraig MacNeela said that the research shows that teenagers in schools and young adults in colleges “strongly support the idea that consent means having the right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and having their partners hear and respect these preferences”.
“But the research also shows that the confidence to act on this understanding can be undermined by embarrassment and shame, including misperceptions of what your peers actually think.
“There is also now evidence to show that a number of young people either agree with or do not actively reject misinformed and potentially harmful rape myths.”