Union of Students in Ireland statement
The abusive leaking and sharing of sexual images and videos without consent is condemned by the Union of Students in Ireland and we are encouraging the victims involved to use the range of services available if needed at this time or in future.
USI is also calling for legislation to make image-based sexual abuse illegal to be implemented immediately to protect individuals from such future incidents of non-consensual sharing and publication.
While this behaviour is sexual abuse, it is not currently illegal in Ireland and there is no legal protection in place for those affected.
Currently, anyone can upload private intimate pictures of an individual without their consent and not be penalised by law or convicted of a crime.
This intolerable, abusive behaviour has happened repeatedly, with this latest large-scale leaking and sharing of private images being particularly invasive.
USI is demanding a commitment from Government to tackle this issue, which has left many people vulnerable and damaged as a result.
However, legislation is only part of what is needed to tackle this issue; there must be a cultural shift too. Victim blaming, shaming and the use of degrading language and ‘slut-shaming’ must stop.
Consent extends to the sharing of images and conversations, as well as physical intimacy. USI will continue to work and campaign with others to embed the importance of consent across our society.
If you have been affected by this issue, there are supports available:
- Women’s Aid 24-hour free helpline – 1800 341 900
- The Victims Alliance victimsalliance.ie
- Text ‘Hello’ to 50808 for free counselling text line service
- Sex Work Alliance Ireland sexworkersalliance.org
- Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 1800 778 888
- Contact your local campus Counselling Service