Over half of Liverpool students believe consent classes should be made compulsory

LGBT+ Society have run classes for their members

Babe recently conducted a sexual assault survey where their readers responded to questions about sexual assault. 1,025 Liverpool students responded to these questions, including some on consent classes.

55 per cent of you said ‘yes consent classes should be compulsory’. 41 per cent said that they would be ‘patronising’ and only 7 per cent had already attended a class while 1 per cent of those had walked out.

At York university, even more students felt they should be compulsory, with 65 per cent of 546 respondents, while only 26 per cent thought the classes would be patronising. A massive 38 per cent of students at York has also attended consent classes, with only 3 per cent walking out.

Sexual consent classes aim to clearly define consent as well as making students aware of what counts as sexual assault and rape in the eyes of the law. Over the last few years, Students’ Unions across the UK have started to include sexual consent classes as part of a series of introductory lectures for new students, and questions have arisen over whether they should become compulsory.

At Liverpool, currently the Guild haven’t held a consent class but LGBT+ Society held one for their members via the NUS’s ‘I heart consent’ campaign. This week they will hold another consent class specific to asexual people. The Guild also had a ‘Call it Out’ campaign last year which aimed to tackle harassment on campus.

Tor, who is running the consent classes for LGBT+ Society said:

Consent classes are really important, I think, because some people don’t understand how far consent has to reach. Consent should permeate everything you do with another person – sexual or not. Society doesn’t teach us this, but it’s so important to living in a safe society.”

Aoife, vice-president of Feminist Society said:

“I think consent classes need to be compulsory otherwise they’re not worth it. Yeah patronising they may be and it is ridiculous that consent should have to be taught over the age of 18 (because we should be given a decent education from when we start primary school) but the reality of it is is that many many people who start university don’t understand what consent is and that is really disturbing. And not understanding what consent is is the same as not understanding rape! The lack of education on consent is evident in high levels of sexual attacks at university especially during freshers week, disproportionately effecting young women.”

On their, ‘I heart consent’ campaign, the NUS website says,

“In the UK, sexual consent is not currently a core aspect of mainstream sex and relationship education. One of the consequences of this is that consent is often not communicated as an essential part of all sexual interactions. Therefore, everyday conversations can be a way of engaging people who have not previously had access to inclusive and educational discussion spaces on consent.”

According to the results from The Tab’s sexual assault survey, 18 per cent of students – 15 per cent of girls and five per cent of boys – said they had been a victim of rape, with a further 36 per cent reporting they had been victims of sexual assault.

87 per cent of students admitted to being groped in a club and 27 per cent said they had had their drink spiked.