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Sexual assault myths debunked as societies and UCCSU team up

Wednesday, 14th October, 2020 2:36pm

“Clothes are not a justification for sexual assault. For far too long it’s been said that a person's clothes meant they were ‘asking for it’.”

Those were the words of Chloe Boland from UCC’s Feminist Society as it joined forces with UCC’s Fashion Society and UCC Student Union Welfare Officer, Jamie Fraser, on a campaign to debunk damaging myths surrounding sexual assault.

The aim of the ‘Not Asking for it’ project is to demonstrate that clothes do not ever determine consent.

The pervasive issue of sexual assault is not because a short skirt is ‘asking for it’ which the group says is a harmful trope which ignores the perpetrator of sexual violence, and instead blames the victim.

Chloe said: “Clothes are not a justification for sexual assault. For far too long it’s been said that a person's clothes meant they were ‘asking for it.’ This idea is harmful and untrue.

“We were delighted to take part in this really important campaign to highlight that a person’s choice of clothing is not an invitation for anything, least of all sexual assault,” said Chloe.

Maeve O’Sullivan, Chairperson of UCC Fashion Society, said: “For too long clothing has been used as an excuse for sexual violence. We say no more.

“What an individual chooses to put on in the morning, is not an invitation of any kind. Sexual assault is something we may, unfortunately, all encounter at some stage in our lives, at varying degrees of intensity and separation.

“It is not enough any more to just understand yes or no, but what is behind the words. Is there coercion, an assumption or pressure from inside or outside the room, alcohol or drug use?” said Maeve.

She continued: “This campaign is not just for students to see us coming together but for everyone. The conversation we have must include all people, and recognise the nuances of consent in all experiences, so we can put a stop to sexual violence on our campuses and in our country,” Maeve concluded.

The powerful visual campaign features five students in clothes fit for college, school, work, the gym or even a nightclub against the backdrop of University College Cork’s famous Quad.

The campaign is part of the UCCSU Consent Awareness Week which began on Monday 12 October and which will conclude tomorrow, Friday 14 October.

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