Glasgow needs consent classes

I don’t care who you are, they’re necessary

Over the last couple of months, universities across the UK have been announcing plans to introduce consent classes for their students.

The aim of these classes is to teach students exactly what constitutes consent and when they might need to ask for it. For whatever reason, this announcement has been met with anger and laughter by a portion of the student population. At the moment, Glasgow University doesn’t even seem to be offering these classes. Here’s why this is wrong.

Let me start by saying this: consent classes have been a long time coming. If you ask me, consent should be taught in school as part of sexual education. And no, I’m not talking about the “no means no, yes means yes” approach, I’m talking about a proper, fully-fledged description of what does and what does not constitute rape. Maybe then we wouldn’t get to the age of 16 and have no fucking idea of what is and isn’t okay. If we’re going to engage in sexual acts, we can never be too educated.

Consent is never optional

Consent is never optional

Consent classes are not being introduced as a means of insulting people, or implying all men are nasty, horrible, scary brutes who will revel in the opportunity to cause a lifetime of physical and emotional damage to a woman. This is only one side of rape. Consent classes are being introduced because we need them. Rape is so much more than the high profile cases we see in the news (far too often, might I add), and it’s time for everyone to understand that.

No one knows what a rapist looks like. A rapist could be your best mate who gets really fucked on a night out in Bath and decides he’s going to have sex tonight. It could be the quiet girl from your stats seminar who goes too hard on the tequila at a house party and is feeling lonely and frustrated. It could be your boyfriend or girlfriend. It could be you.

Every hour, 11 UK citizens over the age of 18 are raped. Only 15 per cent of rapes are reported each year, and 5.7 per cent result in prosecution. Almost 90 per cent of rape victims know their rapist. These figures do not account for cases where the victim is under the age of 18. In a country where rape statistics are so shocking, why would anyone say no to consent classes? These classes are not asking much of us, and in the long run they are going to prove highly beneficial.

Have you ever gotten back to your flat with someone, only to realise you don’t have a condom? Did you have sex with them anyway? Unless consent for unprotected sex was specifically given by both parties, this is rape. Have you ever finished inside someone without their permission? This is rape. Have you ever been so drunk you haven’t verbally checked if your partner definitely wants to have sex with you? Guess what, this is rape too.

Rape knows no gender, no sexuality, no race, and no age. There’s always going to be people who accuse consent class advocates of being too pc, of being prudes and kill-joys. Can I share something with you? I don’t give a fuck. We’re all sick of living in a time where men and women alike aren’t safe and educated about sex and consent. So please Glasgow, take my advice and introduce consent classes. Then at least we all can’t plead ignorance.