The room is filled with silence, in a good way. This silence is one of empathy, where strangers and newfound friends find common ground and open up a conversation that is tough to have. The conversation being started is about consent.
With the #MeToo movement sweeping Hollywood and the workplace, it was only a matter of time before the movement was felt at universities throughout the nation.
According to washingtonpost.com, “about one-quarter of undergraduate women say they have been victims of sexual touching or penetration without consent since starting college. These are the findings from the Association of American Universities (AAU) campus climate survey given to 33 universities across the United States.
No means November is one of Doane’s numerous efforts to open up the conversation about consent and ensure that everyone understands what consent is and what it looks, junior Marrisa Morrison said. Morrison was in charge of planning No means November, which is the month-long event Chi Delta sorority hosts to talk about sexual assault at universities and what we can do to prevent it at Doane.
An episode of Vice on HBO titled “Consent” is how this event gets started. In the episode an all too familiar story is being told repeatedly: one of sexual assault and how consent was disregarded in these situations. People of different genders came forward to discuss their nonconsensual sexual encounters and how it has changed their lives. The documentary explores what consent is and the different ways people heal after an assault.
The on-screen discussion mirrors the panel sitting in Art/Ed 236. Some Doane students talk about their personal experiences with sexual assault and how it affects their life on and off-campus. Others discuss what they do to be an ally to assault survivors and what others can do to be an effective ally.
The panel of guests consists of Doane students, some of whom are CAPE peer educators, and Project Director Suzannah Rogan. Also joining the panel guest via Skype is Doane and Chi Delta alum Darcy Strayer.
The overwhelming message of the onscreen and offscreen panels: conversations about consent and what that means needs to be had beyond closed doors. Only then will the misunderstandings surrounding consent be effectively addressed and solved.
“This is not a two-person issue. This is a societal problem,” Strayer said.