Tabitha Buckley, Contributor.
The fact that rape and sexual assault are a problem in our modern hypersexualised society isn’t news to anyone – it’s a widely accepted issue that’s evident in many different aspects of our culture. What might be news to you, however, is that none of the UK statistics you see regarding these issues come from studies that include Northern Ireland. We have no statistics for the prevalence of non-consensual sexual experiences in Northern Ireland.
To try to change this, S.C.O.R.E. (Student Consent Research Collaboration) have launched the ‘Stand Together’ Survey to measure the level of non-consensual sexual experiences QUB students face on and off campus. It is to be the first survey of its kind to take place in an academic institution in Northern Ireland, and will be instrumental in making the university a safer place – helping to support students and raising awareness of consent and local support organisations that are there to help victims of sexual assault or harassment. Other research carried out by The National Union of Students and the Union of Students in Ireland highlight that sexual assault, harassment and consent are all a problem at university campuses, with 1 in 7 students reporting that they have been the victim of serious physical or sexual assault and 1 in 3 students experiencing some form of sexual assault or harassment in or around their institution.
S.C.O.R.E. is more than just a research group, however. Created with the aim of facilitating a campaign to change and improve the support systems available to students, this project is the result of 18 months of work from a grand team of volunteers and committee members, following in the footsteps of students from universities such as Cambridge and Edinburgh. The S.C.O.R.E. Collaboration itself is made up of five Queen’s students from the schools of Medicine, Mechanical Engineering and Psychology, as well as Chloe Patterson, Student Officer Welfare, all of whom work alongside internal and external advisory boards. The external advisory board is made up of 24 representatives from Nexus NI, Women’s Aid, The Rainbow Project, The Rowan, Hollaback, The Public Health Agency, FPA, Brook and ONUS, while the internal advisory board is made up of QUB staff (lecturers and SGC staff). The project also has ethical approval for the research from the School of Sociology.
The ‘Stand Together’ Survey is completely anonymous, and takes just 5 minutes to complete. What’s more, following completion of the survey will be taken to a separate page where you can enter your email to be in with the chance of winning a £50 amazon voucher. The details collected in this link will be completely separate from your survey question responses. What’s not to love?
You can fill in the survey at http://www.tinyurl.com/qubscore.
We understand that this survey may trigger distress and negative emotions. If you want to talk to someone please contact the following organisations;
Nexus NI: 028 9032 6803
24 hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline: 0808 802 1414
CareCall: 0808 800 0016
The Rowan: 0800 389 4424
These details will be repeated throughout the survey.
Your responses will help to make QUB a safer place for future students.