2000 “Got Consent?” condoms are set to be distributed this term as part of an attempt by OUSU to reduce the incidence of sexual assault across the University.
OUSU Vice President for Welfare, Chris Pike, said: “We’re piloting the condoms because we think it is good to have positive messages about sexual consent around all of us, and condoms are one way of getting the message across. Combating sexual violence is high on OUSU’s priority list.”
OUSU’s actions are the latest in a series of initiatives focused on raising awareness of sexual violence, including the “It Happens Here” campaign as well as the recent introduction of compulsory sexual consent workshops to all undergraduate colleges.
Students have responded positively to the initiative, with former OUSU Vice President for Women Sarah Pine saying: “Consent is always necessary. A reminder to respect the boundaries of our partners keeps everyone safer, and means that no-one has an excuse to not check with the person they’re having sex with.”
Third-year historian Abigail Burman, an active member of the “It Happens Here” campaign, said: “Condoms and consent are both crucial parts of safe sex, so it makes a lot of sense to put them together.”
However, not all students agreed that this was the best way to tackle the problem. A second-year English student said: “It is a facile and simplistic sticking plaster solution to a problem which is culturally entrenched. Consent workshops are perhaps a more positive way of achieving the same end.”
A female history student questioned the value of the condoms, saying: “It is naïve to think that perpetrators of sexual violence have simply forgotten about the need for consent and just need to be reminded. This seems like a bit of a gimmick rather than an effective prevention method.”
The condoms will be available from college welfare representatives from the beginning of Michaelmas.