Students Want Mandatory Sexual Consent Test Before Starting University
Students Want Mandatory Sexual Consent Test Before Starting University
Students Want Mandatory Sexual Consent Test Before Starting University
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Students want mandatory sexual consent test before starting university

By Caroline Chettri

A survey finds that a majority of students would prefer to take a test on sexual consent before they start university.

British universities have been under fire after thousands of testimonies on Everyone’s Invited revealed that many acts of sexual assault and violence happens inside these prestigious campuses. Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and YouthSight conducted a survey to find out more about how undergraduate students navigate sex and relationships when transitioning into college. Their findings showed that when it comes to sexual consent and education, students need and want more support.

The findings

Of the 1,004 respondents, 58% said that students should take compulsory sexual consent tests before getting into university. 51% of the students think that sex education should be mandatory during orientation. In total, only a third of the students believed that they could confidently understand consent after consuming alcohol, and13% said that they did not know what acts were considered to be sexual harassment and assault to begin with. The study also found that a troubling 35% of the students learned more about sex from pornography than they did during school or university.

Although the survey was comparatively small, the results clearly indicate that students need the appropriate resources to make better decisions about sex and relationships, and universities need to prioritise making these resources accessible to them. Direction of HEPI, and author of the report, Nick Hillman said:

The poll confirms we need to alter the common understanding of what it is like to be in higher education today. In the main, students are not irresponsible nor do they lack resilience, but they sometimes feel unprepared for life as an undergraduate.

Another ‘striking’ revelation

Apart from students wanting to understand consent better, the survey also revealed that universities need to take other aspects of sexual health into consideration, particularly menstruation. The study found that periods have been affecting the academic performance of 40% of female students. Hillman explained:

One particularly striking finding is the high proportion of female students whose higher education has been affected by their periods. This supplements what we know about what happens at school. Our new data suggest higher education institutions should give female health matters further consideration across teaching, learning and assessment.

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