Cork students want consent classes added to the secondary school curriculum

Cork students want consent classes added to the secondary school curriculum
Students from Saint Patrick's College outside City Hall with their Young Social Innovators Award. 

A GROUP of teenage girls are on a mission to end victim blaming as they call for a focus on consent in the school curriculum.

Girls from Saint Patrick's College on Gardiner's Hill emphasised that their work is only beginning following their recognition at this year's Young Social Innovators Awards at City Hall.

The Transition year students received the Most Powerful Communicator Award for their powerful contribution- titled Give Victims a Voice - which included a dramatisation and presentation on consent.

Emer Varley, a teacher at the school and facilitator of the project said she is very proud of her students who have been busy offering consent workshops to young people across the city. Their hope is that the subject of consent can one day be added to Ireland's secondary school curriculum.

"I look forward to seeing the girls every week," Emer said. "They are so activated by this issue. One of the main messages they have been trying to get across is that it's not clothes that cause rape, it's rapists. I am so proud of everything they have achieved."

Students had the opportunity to work closely with Sexual Violence Director, Mary Crilly as part of the project.

Transition year student Alanna Garvin from Mayfield was just one of the students who participated.

"This was a great opportunity for us as a class as we felt it was an issue that wasn't being addressed enough," she said.

Her classmate Aoife Aherne from Mahon also played a key role in the project.

"Our message is that a girl's behaviour leading up to a rape is not what's important. Whether it's alcohol, the victim's clothing-none of these things matter."

Fellow student Katie Fox from Ballyvolane said she found the experience empowering.

"It taught us about healthy relationships. The project also opened our eyes to the fact that we shouldn't have to change ourselves for a boy."

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