Tuesday 6 December 2016

More than one in five Irish people think sex without consent is fine in 'certain circumstances'

Catherine Devine and Daire Courtney

Published 25/11/2016 | 16:23

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Over 20pc of Irish people think that sex without consent is justifiable in "certain circumstances", according to a new EU study.

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One in ten Irish people believe that being drunk or using drugs justifies sexual intercourse without consent. This compares to 30pc in Romania, 24pc in Hungary, 12pc in Bulgaria and 20pc in Latvia.

Some 9pc of Irish and 11pc of EU respondents say intercourse without consent is justified if a person voluntarily goes home with someone.

Similarly 9pc of Irish respondents said that sexual intercourse without consent is justified if the person is wearing revealing, provocative or sexy clothing.

The figures show that 7pc of Irish survey participants say sexual intercourse without consent is justified if the person is out walking alone at night.

The study which surveyed 1,000 Irish people saw that 23pc of Irish respondents agree women often make up or exaggerate claims of abuse or rape.

However 77pc of Irish people think domestic violence against women in Ireland is common or very common, which is above the EU average of 74pc.

89pc of Irish people say domestic violence against women is unacceptable and should always be punishable by the law.

More than one in ten Irish people agree that domestic violence is a private matter and should be handled within the family. This compares to an EU average of 15pc with Bulgaria in top place at 34pc and Sweden in bottom place at 2pc.

Only 1pc of Irish and EU respondents think sending unwanted sexually illicit emails or messages is not wrong and should not be against the law.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Orla O'Connor, Director of the National Women's Council of Ireland, said: "Here we are, it’s the first day of the 16 days of action and we’re looking at a survey that says 12pc of people think it's a private matter.
 They’re shocking statistics."

"Domestic violence is not a family issue; it is a very serious crime," she continued, adding that more consent-based sexual education is needed in schools and universities.

Noeline Blackwell, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said: "This shows how important it is to raise the profile of sexual and domestic violence, because people's knowledge remains quite limited."

"All of the studies show that false reports of sexual violence are extremely rare, and yet 23pc of people surveyed believed false reports are common," Ms Blackwell told Independent.ie.

"When you report a crime like this, you go through a thorough and often invasive legal investigation. That is some tough going, and that is one reason why false reports are very rare."

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