The C Word: A Discussion About Consent

One in five women on college campuses experience or have experienced sexual assault during their collegiate career.

The C Word, a traveling company dedicated to changing rape and sexual assault culture, is determined to make this generation the generation to end rape culture as we see it today. Advocates Leah and Danny came to visit Wittenberg this past Thursday to educate student on how they can be more aware of, and prevent, rape and sexual assault.

Students from every Greek organization on campus gathered in the CDR, sitting together with their sorority and fraternity brothers anxiously whispering about the upcoming presentation.

As Leah and Danny started their presentation, they noted the “Consent is Sexy” shirt in the front row, adding that consent is the act of saying yes, giving permission or agreeing to sexual activity.

“Rape culture isn’t a gender issue but a generational issue,” Danny said.

While women are more likely to experience sexual assault or harassment, these things can happen to anyone at any time and with anyone. In fact, according to the presenters, 8/10 rapes are done by someone who the victim knew prior to the incident.

One issue that the advocates covered is sexual harassment on social media, something that is not nearly talked about enough. Just because someone isn’t there to physically touch or harm you, doesn’t mean that their words alone are consensual or appropriate.

The two presenters demonstrated this idea with a mock job interview in which the interviewer found countless social media posts from the interviewee saying things like, “send nudes” and  “Girl, I want to wear you like a pair of sunglasses, one leg over each ear.”

“Tweets like these can and do often lead to rape,” Leah said.

Next, to further help students identify when someone is saying no, the presenters took two volunteers, Mary-Claire Lynch, ‘19, and Danny O’Nan, ‘21, to participate in an activity in which, if either of them felt like Leah was trying to say no, verbally or nonverbally, they were to pop a balloon.

This activity showed students the difference between a hard and a soft no. A hard no being a verbal no or denial whereas a soft no included body language, changing the subject or leaving the room. Both forms of no are valid denials of consent.

Lastly, Leah and Danny educated students on methods of intervention. Using the acronym SED (separate, enlist and distract), the presenters gave examples of how to use each method.

Student volunteers helped to display these methods in another demonstration. They worked together to separate Leah and Danny from each other in a hypothetical situation saying things like, “I think your friend is looking for you,” or “Can I talk to you for a second?”

Next, the students worked to enlist the help of others in a situation. While one helped to distract the aggressor, the others helped to get the victim away from that situation.

Lastly, distracting the aggressor can be as easy as, “Your friend is getting iced; you don’t want to miss it!”

Wittenberg’s campus has a plethora of sources if you or anyone you know needs help or wishes to report an incident. Hannah Brow, ‘19, our student advocate, Casey Gill, The Womyn’s Center and many more are all reliable sources that will get you the help you need.

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