The Social Democrats today highlighted their recently published Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy and said the time for Irish society to start having open and frank conversations about sexuality and healthy sexual expression has never been more appropriate.

The party’s Political Director Anne-Marie McNally said that if we don’t create the space to have these conversations in public then the disgustingly derogatory conversations showcased in the now infamous WhatsApp message from the Belfast Rape Trail will continue to happen in private.

The Party’s Sexual Health Policy is based on a positive approach to human sexuality and an approach which challenges the traditionally taboo nature of conversations regarding what is acceptable when discussing sex and sexuality.

The Social Democrats agreed that a lot of people found Social Media hurtful and distressing yesterday with polarised hashtags relating to the verdict and instead the party has proposed a hashtag #letstalkaboutsex where people engage healthily on what should constitute respect for each other’s sexuality.

Anne-Marie McNally said:

“The sentiments expressed in that WhatsApp conversation are not, and should never be, considered ok. Whether they were private chats or not, it should simply be abhorrent to a man that another man would describe a woman or sexual activities involving a woman, to him in such terms. In the last few weeks I have had far too many men tell me that ‘it’s just how things are’ while admitting that kind of so-called banter has made them uncomfortable in the past.

“The only way to stop a culture where that toxic form of ‘banter’ is considered acceptable is to replace it with a culture where it is acceptable and healthy to have open conversations about sex that do not require the degradation of someone in order to somehow be considered sexually successful.

“Our recently published Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy is written with a modern Ireland in mind, one where age appropriate, impartial sexual education is the norm and sentiments such as those expressed in that WhatsApp group are considered vile and unacceptable to the point that nobody would dare send them to a friend for fear of alienation.”

Download the Social Democrats ‘ Sexual and Reproductive Policy.