‘This Should Be Shown In Schools’: Twitter Loved Louise O’Neill’s RTÉ Documentary Last Night

The Irish author explored the issues of consent and sexual violence in Ireland.

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From Louise McSharry’s F**k Cancer documentary to Angela Scanlon’s exploration of how the Irish have sex on Full Frontal, RTÉ2’s Reality Bites series has covered a massive range of issues over the last 18 months alone.

Last night Cork author Louise O’Neill joined the Reality Bites ranks with her documentary Asking For It?, an exploration of how issues like consent and sexual violence are viewed in this country.

The issue of rape culture came to the forefront internationally earlier this year with the Stanford rape case, which saw swimmer Brock Turner receive just a six-month sentence for having sex with an unconscious victim at a frat party. Ireland’s skewed view of rape and sexual assault has also been widely documented, for example in incidents like the Listowel case, in which townspeople queued up to shake a convicted sex offenders hand.

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During the documentary Louise spoke with various survivors, campaigners and crisis staff, among them rape victim Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill, who has spoken widely in the public forum about her experience of bringing her ex-boyfriend to trial for raping her as she slept.

The documentary sparked hundreds of tweets from viewers, most of them wholly positive, with many people pushing for the one-hour show to be aired in schools.

“People don’t want to talk about rape and other forms of sexual violence but we must have open conversations about what is an informed consent if we are to solve the problems that sexual violence creates,” Rape Crisis Centre CEO Noeline Blackwell said of last night’s documentary. “We must all be clear that violence isn’t just force: it’s the absence of full consent.  This programme addresses the embarrassment or inhibitions that actually lead to sexual violence and serious harm.”

If you missed Asking For It, you can watch it back on RTÉ Player here, or if you’re outside of Ireland you can view it by downloading the RTÉ Player International app.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised above or in last night’s documentary, you can contact the Rape Crisis Centre’s National 24-Hour support centre on 1800 77 88 88.