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Connacht Tribune

Survey lifts lid on silent pain of sexual assault

Denise McNamara

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Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Senior Lecturer in Psychology in NUI Galway

An estimated one in ten first year college students experienced non-consensual sexual penetration – and had not disclosed it to anyone.

The disturbing results of a survey about third level students’ sexual violence and harassment experiences across the country found that 19% of Year 1 students said they experienced non-consensual penetration while incapacitated, through force or after being threatened.

This rose to 27% of students in Year 3 or later.

“Given the relatively high rate of non-disclosure among Year 1 students, the findings suggest that one in ten of the Year 1 students experienced non-consensual penetration during the year and had not disclosed to anyone,” the report found.

Over 1,000 of the female students who took part in the survey described incidents that could be legally defined as rape. One quarter of male students said they had been subjected to sexual misconduct during their time in college.

Just over half of first year students reported experiencing sexual harassment since beginning college. This rose to 62% for second year students, and 66% for undergraduate students in third year or higher.

Over half of students with a disability reported an experience of sexual misconduct by any tactic (56%), compared with 42% of other students.

A total of 6,026 students from 14 universities and colleges completed the Sexual Experiences Survey between February and April of this year which was carried out by NUI Galway’s Active Consent Programme in partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). It was the first national survey of its kind.

Co-author Dr Pádraig MacNeela, senior lecturer in psychology in NUI Galway, said the survey did not break down the results from each institution. He described the findings as a stark depiction of the experiences that many students have had.

“Over 1,000 of the female students who took part in the survey described incidents that correspond to rape, while one quarter of male students said they had been subject to sexual misconduct during their time in college. Bisexual, non-binary, and queer students described particularly high levels of sexual harassment,” he stated.

The other author Dr Lorraine Burke, NUI Galway Post-Doctoral Researcher, remarked that the survey identified a gap that colleges need to make up a gap in order to respond to students’ needs.

Only 16 per cent who had an experience said they had received information on where to get help from their institution and only just under 10 per cent said they knew how to report an incident.

“These are areas that can be addressed very quickly by colleges and that needs to be one of the on-campus actions taken as a result of these survey findings.”

There were also some positives in the survey unveiled about campus climate. Most students took part in events, workshops, or other initiatives designed to prevent sexual misconduct and those who took part were a lot more likely to be aware of supports and services.

“A majority of students agreed that their peers would be supportive if they were to disclose experiences of sexual misconduct, and trusted their college to be fair in how they deal with reports of sexual violence. These are positives, but students who had experienced sexual misconduct tended to be less trusting of the college or to expect their peers to be supportive,” explained Dr MacNeela.

NUIG is one of eight colleges due to begin a system of anonymous reporting of these kinds of incidents in the autumn, which has been adopted in many UK campuses.

“This gets over the fact that many people feel uncomfortable with making a report but at least if the information is provided the college would be in a position to do something about it, they would be alert to patterns or identify hotspots or areas where there needs to be more active intervention.”

Connacht Tribune

The Herbal Academy’s leading course on living a healthy life

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There has already been a phenomenal upsurge in the use of holistic treatments to deal with a whole host of common ailments – but a Galway herbalist and educator has now taken this to the next level.

Because Tuam-based Patrick Murphy – owner and founder of the Herbal Academy – believes that that anyone can learn to make and use herbal remedies at home, for their own wellbeing and that of their families and clients.

Which is the ethos behind the Herbal Academy as an institute of alternative medicine for the general public, delivering a variety of courses completely online to allow for remote learning.

The courses offered at the academy, designed by Patrick, were produced during the lockdown months – and now the work is ready to be presented to the public.

The Herbal Academy itself was developed to use a unique blend of Western Herbal Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine to learn how to create a range of holistic treatments for common ailments.

And, as Patrick points out, all of this can be safely used alongside medical treatments, if necessary.

His philosophy in his work is to ‘cleanse, nourish and heal’ – and that is woven through the course material, which he has written and which is accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

It’s the latest career evolution for Patrick Murphy, who as the Skin Herbalist, provided his first herbal remedies to his patients back in 1995 – with good results.

Then as different ailments emerged in his patients, he would accommodate them by using new herbal formulas, again with marked success. These formulas worked well with subsequent patients that they became standard.

His true philosophy is ‘getting to the root cause of the disorder’, helping him to create healing tonic herbals. These herbs help the body overcome disease by strengthening through cleansing and nourishing.

Patrick’s ultimate vision is to cleanse and nourish so the body can heal, using wild crafted, organic herbs.

The Herbal Academy itself has a comprehensive mission statement.

It aims ‘to empower energy, wellbeing, and confidence, physically and mentally by imparting knowledge of healing, nourishing, and cleansing the body using natural, organic, earth-sourced sustainable herbs and supplements that focus on treating the root causes of ailments rather than just the symptoms’.

The Academy offers three courses – the Foundation Course; Herbal Home Remedies, and Colour Therapy.

Material on the Foundation Course is aimed to provide the basics in herbalism, that students can recognize and devise effective herbal treatments for themselves and others and to educate themselves in how to use herbal remedies for first aid use and how to use alongside mainstream medical treatments.

Participants will also gain the knowledge of distinguishing between supplements and their properties as well as learning to make their own effective herbal treatments for a range of common ailments including common colds, IBS and various skin conditions.

Those studying Herbal Home Remedies will learn of the herbal remedies available to treat an array of situations such as insomnia, infections, rashes, coughs, digestive issues, stings/bites, bruises, and joint problems amongst many others.

Students will learn to prepare these remedies using a range of fruits, spices, oils, and herbs-all ingredients that are completely natural and have been used and relied on for centuries to promote wellbeing and vitality.

Colour Therapy is used as part of medical practice for hundreds of years, colour therapy is an important element in the holistic approach to complimentary health practice.

In this course, people will identify and understand the need for certain colour themes in their lives and how to use it for healing, good health, relaxation and protection as well as learning how to use this therapy to compliment other therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology and aromatherapy.

“The Herbal Academy is delivered completely through online learning. No prior experience is necessary,” says Patrick Murphy.

“The courses can be accessed on the website instantly and offers a payment plan to spread the cost if needed. Upon completion, students will receive accredited certificates for each course.

“We have a special limited time offer in place from now until September 30 – if you order the Foundation Herbal Medicine Course, you get the Colour Therapy and Healing for free.”

Patrick also has his own herbal dispensary, stocking herbal remedies from highly reputable organic herbal suppliers. Mainly organic, bio dynamic and fresh herb tinctures are stocked.

Dried herbs which are always organic where possible, as well as pessaries, capsules and specifically made up creams, are also dispensed, when required.

Patrick helps people with common ailments such as arthritis, asthma, acne, eczema, Fibromyalgia, ME, constipation, digestive problems, heartburn, acid reflux, back pain, menopause and more.

For more information on his online courses, visit the website www.theherbalacademy.ie/ or contact Patrick via info@theherbalacademy.ie – or phone 093-27033.

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Connacht Tribune

We’re on the move – but we’re going nowhere!

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This week marks the end of one major chapter in the history of the Connacht Tribune – and the start of a new one.

Because this is the last edition of this proud old newspaper to be produced from the Market Street offices where we’ve been from the Tribune’s inception in 1909.

From next week, we will be working from our new state-of-the-art offices in Liosban Business Park – or at least those not working remotely because of Covid restrictions will.

But while we’re on the move, in truth we’re going nowhere – because we are committed to covering everything that goes on in Galway now as our predecessors were back in 1909.

And by deploying the latest in technological advances, we aim to make that an even smoother journey from the source of the story to your homes and workplaces every week.

These are troubled times, not just for newspapers, but for all businesses; so this investment in a new base – complete with cutting-edge technology – is a real investment in our future and a vote of confidence in our staff and readers.

Covid has tested every one of us, not just in Galway or indeed in Ireland, but across the globe; we’ve seen such loss of life and such threat to livelihoods – and perhaps there’s much more to come.

But while we leave Market Street with memories and sadness, we also look forward to the brighter days ahead – as we do what we always did, which is to provide all the news, sport, features, entertainment and more as our colleagues have done over more than 110 years.

It’s the end of one chapter for sure, and the beginning of another – but this is a story that we know will just run and run.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Students asked to steer clear of house parties

Dara Bradley

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Students returning to Galway for the start of the new term later this September have been urged to avoid house parties to help lower the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks.

The HSE has said that the majority of confirmed cases in the West in the past two weeks were linked to socialising.

The latest mini ‘surge’ of infection in Galway, though better than the national average, was worrying, according to Director of Public Health Dr Breda Smyth.

“We have been growing incrementally at a very low rate but at a steady pace. In the West we’ve been doing well in our overall 14-day incidence rate compared to national levels but even withstanding that we are seeing an increase and it has started since late August.

“It has been rising slowly and in the last two weeks in particular we’ve seen a surge,” she said.

Dr Smyth said third level institutes have initiatives in place to reduce the spread of infection.

“But once again what we have seen and will continue to see is that if students congregate in crowded areas – so, high volumes of house parties and socialisation, which is reducing social distancing – then there’s a high risk that we will start to see outbreaks in that community. It is important that students do also take personal responsibility while at college to reduce the risk of outbreaks,” she said.

For full story – and Covid-19 coverage – see this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in all shops now. Or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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