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CALL THIS OUT We must do better, Simon Harris vows as third of Irish female students admit they’ve experienced sexual assault

It’s all part of the Irish Sun’s Call This Out campaign, which started this week.
Misogyny in this country can take many forms, from casual remarks to violent acts against women.

It follows the death of Ashling Murphy, yet it has long existed.

Nadine Lott, Raonaid Murray, Sonia Blount, and Irene White are all remembered as victims of violence.

This assault occurs in our colleges, where our daughters, sisters and friends study.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris recently revealed a poll from last year.

Over 1100 female students (34%) reported non-consensual vaginal penetration by coercion, incapacitation, force or fear of force.

14% of students reported having oral sex with them when they were inebriated and unable to agree, and 7% stated they were physically forced to do so.

It’s time to speak out misogyny, Minister Harris argues.

HE Minister Simon Harris

Across the country, vital dialogues about violence, particularly against women, are taking place.

The results of today’s study underscore our challenges and our inability to address them.

For the first time last year, we surveyed every student and faculty member in higher education about their experiences of sexual violence, harassment, and if our sector’s remedies were effective.

Astonishing findings They are deeply disturbing and deserve a response from those in power.

More than 30% of students stated someone sexually touched them while they were incapacitated, and 15% said it was forced.

Another 14% reported someone had oral intercourse with them when they were incapacitated and unable to consent, while 7% said they were physically forced to do so.

Not surprisingly, women were more likely than men to be victims of sexual violence.

But the survey’s results should still shock.

Otherwise, we should be very concerned about a violent undercurrent of misogyny in our society.

The findings sicken me as a man, a father, and a politician.

Must improve.

We must work to make women feel protected, respected, and equal.

We must keep talking and take action.

Last year, I asked our universities to submit plans to combat sexual violence and harassment among students and faculty.

Awareness raising, training and victim support are generally provided in Irish colleges. But we must do more.

My department has also been working on the Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual, and Gender-based Violence, a zero-tolerance approach to these issues.

Our country has an excellent third-level system that is constantly improving and generating students who can compete globally.

We know our kids care about the world and want to improve it.

They keep those in power on our toes, demanding we fight diligently for social equality.

We cannot sugarcoat the findings.

Too many Irish women feel frightened, belittled, and disrespected. Men sexually harass and abuse too many women.

This is the reality, and it is unacceptable.

We must educate every college student about consent and when to act, as Minister for Further and Higher Education.

But this is a societal issue.

The majority of males are offended by the treatment of their spouses, daughters, and mothers.

Sadly, some people’s misogyny runs so deep that compassion and reason will never reach them.

So let’s keep talking.

As with climate change, the topic should become so prevalent that treating everyone with respect and empathy becomes second nature.

That’s the goal.

We must not accept less.