Groping is so common in bars and nightclubs that the majority of Irish women see “no value in reporting it,” a child psychotherapist.
Dr Colman Noctor said the problem comes up again and again when he is conducting therapy sessions.
“I was always struck by how that wasn’t the core aspect of the story and it was kind of said ‘by the by,’” he told Moncreiff.
“I was wondering why people had resigned to the fact that this was part of normal life - if you’re out on a night out, you almost would expect this.”
Recently, Dr Noctor was talking to third level students about consent and was horrified to find just how pervasive groping is for people on a night out.
“I genuinely was struck by the volume and the extent of this and I genuinely wasn’t living under a rock - I knew this was happening,” he continued.
“But again, similar to your straw poll, I was struck by how much part of the course that sort of an experience is for young adults and people who are out socialising.”
Furthermore, most victims did not report what happened to them because they thought nothing would happen if they did.
“The majority shook their shoulders and said there was no value in reporting it and nobody would do anything about it,” he said.
“Someone who had actually gone and reported similar experiences hadn’t got that validated response.”
Dr Noctor wondered if to a certain extent if it is generational and said he thought men need to do more to stand up for women.
“I do think as males, we have to be upstanding,” he added.
“If someone in my peer group I knew in my 20s took part in anything like that, there’s no way I would have stood by and let it happen.
“I think there is a responsibility on men as a whole to kind of stamp it out even if it is a loud minority.
“I think the bystanders are equally complicit in it if that makes sense.”
Furthermore, he believes that those who break the law need to be properly punished.
“It is assault; I don’t think you can minimise it,” he said.
“I obviously work in a profession where trauma is my core business and I would see lots of young people who suffer with trauma… Without a recognition of the potential consequences of this act, if we make it out into locker room talk, that does nothing to stop it.
“I think we have to maximise it and say, ‘It is what it is, it’s an assault.’
“If we are to have any chance of stamping it out, there has to be serious consequences for that action.”
If you have been impacted by sexual assault, you can call Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s 24 Helpline on 1800 77 8888.
Main image: A nightclub.