SHAG walk 100km dressed as vaginas and penises to raise money for charity

‘Sex and sexual health are NORMAL’

Students are always coming up with new eye-catching ways to raise money for charities close to their hearts, and Cardiff University Sexual Health Awareness Group (SHAG) are no different. Dressed up in vagina and penis costumes, the group are walking 100km across the month of March to raise money for Endometriosis UK and Orchid – Fighting Male Cancer.

On their Facebook page, SHAG stated that this fundraising is to support Endometriosis and Cancer Awareness Month this March.

What is SHAG?

The Cardiff Tab spoke to a SHAG spokesperson, who told us that their role is to “provide sexual health information to the whole student body, signposting them to sexual health services and information surrounding the topic”.

The spokesperson said that due to Covid this year, they have adapted their role to be more virtual, getting out information and raising awareness by running campaigns including STI awareness month, body positivity, and consent campaign. “We aim to break the stigma around sexual health and want to make a safe space for students to talk about it and provide them with correct sources to enhance their knowledge”, they said.

SHAG are also C-Card trained and offer free condoms from their dispenser in Cardiff University Students’ Union.

Why are they dressing as vaginas and penises?

Throughout March, members of SHAG will be walking 100km around Cardiff. When we asked why they were dressing up in vagina and penis costumes, a SHAG spokesperson said: “We wanted to create noise and attention to sexual health mainly because of the stigma but also because we want students to feel comfortable talking about it because sex and sexual health are NORMAL”.

Speaking to The Cardiff Tab, the spokesperson explained: “We thought that us parading a penis and vulva around Cardiff would start a conversation and leave a lasting impression about who SHAG is and what we do”.

Who are they raising money and awareness for?

SHAG are walking 100km of Cardiff dressed in penis and vulva costumes to celebrate Endometriosis Awareness Month, raising money for the charity that is close to SHAG. A spokesperson for SHAG also explained: “We are also raising awareness for Orchid which is a cancer fighting charity supporting those with penile, testicular, and prostate cancers, promoting education, awareness and support services”.

Want to get involved? Here’s how…

SHAG offer free membership through the Students’ Union, and lots of online engagement activities through Zoom and social media platforms. A spokesperson for SHAG told The Cardiff Tab they have exciting events coming up, including an Erika Lust workshop on communication desire.

SHAG said: “We would love to get more engagement and reach more people so share our posts, tag us and write to us about what you want us to cover”. So if you’d like to get involved, have a look at their social media pages or contact the team.

Sexual health amongst university students

According to Fresh Student Living, 25 per cent of university first year’s will catch an STI, and 15 per cent of under-25s have admitted to having unsafe sex with two or more partners since arriving at university.

For many, being tested for an STI is a daunting process, so last year the Welsh NHS introduced the Frisky Wales scheme, where students can get a ‘test and post’ home kit and find information about STI’s and contraception. You can also find out more about postal kits on Cardiff University’s Students’ Union website. 

On the website, they also direct students to in-person clinics at Cardiff Royal Infirmary and other locations.

SHAG are doing great work at Cardiff University to raise awareness of sex and sexual health issues, and in offering students helpful information. If you see them walking around Cardiff dressed in their penis and vulva costumes, give them a wave! You can support, donate or share their fundraisers for Endometriosis and Orchid too!

Feature Image Credit: Facebook / SHAG

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