Following from today’s news of a young female student reporting an alleged rape to the Gardai,USI (Union of Students in Ireland) and the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) want to remind people never to be afraid to report incidents to the Gardai, no matter what the circumstances.

Denise McCarthy Deputy President/VP Welfare USI said:

‘Having sex with someone who cannot consent, because they are too drunk or are in fear, is rape. USI’s recent ‘Say Something’ study showed victims do not report incidents of sexual violence because they thought that they would be blamed for what happened (22 per cent). Additionally, in over six in ten cases (64 per cent for Women, 62 per cent for Men) the victim themselves were under the influence of alcohol at the time.

This belief is dangerous. It is never the fault of the victim even if they have been drinking or taking drugs. It is important that victims feel that they can report an incident no matter what the context. Making a habit of noting the name or license number of a taxi driver at the start of a journey can be very helpful.  If someone you know has been raped or assaulted support them and make sure they know it is not their fault. You can find helpful information ‘

Fiona Neary, RCNI Director said:

‘Taxi drivers are professionals providing a service. The nature of the service means taxi drivers often provide a service to people who are vulnerable. It should be the case that sexual innuendo or conduct of any kind is not tolerated from either driver or passenger”.

A code of conduct and complaints system for taxi drivers is in place. While all criminal activity and/or threat of criminal activity should be reported to the Gardaí it is important to note that conduct that is inappropriate but not necessarily criminal should also be reported. We would urge anyone who has felt uncomfortable or feel that the taxi driver was inappropriate, particularly sexually, make a complaint here to the Transport Authority detailing the behaviour.’

For further information call the 24 hour Rape Crisis helpline on 1800 778 888 if you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence. Read the “Say Something” Report conducted by USI and supported by COSC (National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence).

For more information on USI contact USI Communications & Research Executive Grainne O’Reilly on 087-6776636, or 01-9052100