Tipperary Rape Crisis Centre has urged Leaving Certificate students finishing their exams this week to be careful in their celebrations.
Too much drink is a risk to their safety and in a stark reminder, the Clonmel-based centre says the level of alcohol involvement in rape in Ireland is among the highest in the world.
Tipperary Rape Crisis and Counselling Centre manager Anita Clancy-Clarke congratulates all the students on successfully completing theirexams and says it is a time of great celebration for young people and an opportunity to socialise and unwind with their friends.
However she stresses that there are serious dangers linked to excessive drinking and is urging people to take into account the dangers that drinking too much alcohol can present to their safety.
She said that findings in a recent study by NUI Galway found that eight per cent of women and three per cent of men said that someone had “sexual contact” with them when they “were unable to provide consent or stop what was happening”.
“Having sexual intercourse with a person without their consent constitutes rape. It is a violation of a person’s human rights to take advantage of another person when they are in a vulnerable situation. A victim of sexual violence is never to blame. It is always the perpetrator’s responsibility”, she said this week.
She says - “Don’t be that guy who doesn’t make sure his partner is consenting to having sex; who sexually assaults a woman or a man too drunk to consent to sex; who uses alcohol as a tool to sexually assault someone; who believes it’s not rape; and who doesn’t take responsibility”.
And she reminds people that the legal age of consent for having sex is 17.
“Under current Irish Law, a person is guilty of raping another person if they are reckless in their decision to pursue sexual contact without that other person’s consent If a person has sex with another person without their consent, it is a crime
A person may not give their consent freely if they are asleep, are unconscious or severely impaired due to alcohol, are mentally impaired, are under 17, or have been coerced in any other way that is deemed to be reckless”, she said
“When a person is taken advantage of in any of these circumstances whereby they have not given their consent freely, they suffer the huge trauma of the effects of being raped”.
Tipperary Rape Crisis & Counselling Centre’s aim is to offer a safe and confidential space where women and men of all ages can be listened to and supported without shame or self-blame.
Free phone 1800 340 340