Shock sexual assault figures are call to action

PB APNI shotAlliance South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw has said a survey showing over 160 students stating they had been victims of sexual assault is a call to do far more on the issue of non-consensual sexual relations.

Ms Bradshaw said: “It would be extremely alarming if just one student had reported they had been a victim of a sexual assault, but for nearly 6% of those surveyed to do so is frightening.

“This shows that the message is not getting through, and that attitudes have not changed anything like sufficiently.

“We clearly still have a long way to go to address even the broad issue of inappropriate sexual advances, particularly where people have lost their inhibitions under the influence of alcohol or even drugs. What is required is a fundamental culture change, recognising that any form of unwanted sexual approach is wrong and ensuring that it is discouraged by everyone.

“The objective is simple. People must be able to enjoy a night out without having to fear sexual assault or indeed inappropriate sexual conduct of any time. This should not be a big ask.

“I commend the Student Consent Research Collaboration group on its work highlighting the issue and note classes are now being run by Queen’s University. However, this is a clear call to action to do far more, across all strands of society, to stop sexual assault.”

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