By Paddy Henry
The Students’ Union have formally launched this semester’s edition of Sexual Health and Guidance (SHAG) Week.
Owing to Covid-19 restrictions SHAG Week, which runs from the 1st to the 4th of December sees the Union host a series of online events, looking at key issues impacting on the Sexual Health and Wellbeing of students including consent, image based sexual abuse, victim blaming, period poverty and STI awareness
The workshop on Image Based Sexual Abuse will explore what “revenge porn” is, legislation, and how victims can be supported both emotionally and practically. This is an issue that is on the rise rapidly in Ireland and we need to work to ensure people understand that this act can have very damaging consequences.
The launch of this event is timely following the uncovering of an online platform which contained thousands of intimate images of women and underage girls last week.
The news sparked outrage online and led to the proposal of a bill by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee which would outlaw the making and sharing of intimate images without consent and punishable by fines and a prison term of up to seven years.
Other events taking place include the Active* Consent workshops which provides a safe space to explore the nuances of sexual consent and how best to negotiate active sexual consent.
The Union say that these workshops give young people engaging and up-to-date information and skills that are practical and relevant for their own relationships.
Students’ Union Vice-President and Welfare and Equality Officer Róisín Nic Lochlainn spoke of the importance of SHAG week and highlighted the need for student representative bodies and Universities to take strong action in helping to bring to an end many prevalent societal issues in the area of sexual harassment, stating;
“We have some great workshops and events coming up this week for SHAG Week. Students’ Unions and Universities need to take a strong lead in ending the culture of victim blaming as sexual violence and harassment are still prevalent issues in today’s world. Consent is Ongoing, Mutual and Freely Given – this is the core message of the NUIG Smart Consent courses.”
Students’ Union President Pádraic Toomey expressed his hope that the initiative will help encourage students and said that Ireland still “has a long way to go” when it comes to talking openly about sex, stating ,
“We hope that our SHAG week events will encourage our students to take a responsible attitude to sexual health and healthy relationships. We still have a long way to go in Irish society in terms of breaking down the taboo of talking about sex. We want our students to be educated about their sexual safety.”
More details on the events are available online at https://su.nuigalway.ie/shag-week-2020-2/