By Eimer McAuley
NUIG Student’s Union handed out ‘Shag packs,’ to combat the risk of binge drinking and non consensual sex, for RAG Week.
Roisin O’ Donovan, the Vice President for Welfare for the Union of Students in Ireland, joined NUIG Welfare rep Brandon Walsh to hand out the packs at a sexual empowerment stall on the main concourse to promote SHAG week.
Roisin said that the theme of SHAG Week is “sexual empowerment, to that end we are giving out information on sexual self esteem and masturbation, we want to break down taboos about sex and reach out to students who aren’t necessarily having sex with other people”.
“We are also encouraging students to fill out the National Sexual Experiences Survey, as it will give us up to date information on the highs and lows of student sexual experiences in Ireland today.”
“Our last survey was able to tell us that in Ireland students’ sexual experiences are impacted by a lack of education and consent awareness in secondary schools.”
The USI VP for Welfare said that RAG week is concerning due to the correlation between binge drinking and negative sexual experiences, ‘if you’re intoxicated you can’t give consent, alcohol blurs the lines.’
“College is a time for fun experiences but we need to make sure those experiences for students are within the framework of consent and ultimately safe.”
The Shag packs given out contained a condom, lube, and a card with advice on sexual empowerment, sexual self esteem and support contacts.
Mr Walsh said that it was great to be able to share important support information with students about sex during RAG week as when “students are drinking a lot or even taking drugs, many non-consensual situations can arise”.
“RAG people used to be a great way to raise money for charity, unfortunately now it was led to a lot of anti-social behaviour from students. The SU is doing what it can to support students who have bad experiences, sexual and otherwise, but the University needs to match our efforts through extra counselling and resources being made available.”
“We hope that this event will empower people to open up and talk about their sexual experiences, during RAG week and throughout the academic year,” said Mr Walsh.
Represented at the stall were a number of organisations including WISER, the West of Ireland Sex Education Resource, the Sexual Experiences Survey and USI’s Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance 2020 campaign.
If you are in need of support you can call the Galway Rape Crisis centre helpline on 1800 355 355 Monday to Friday. The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre also have a 24 hour helpline you can call on 1800 77 8888.