by Krista Lee
On Thursday September 18th a little over 100 GMC students gathered in the Gorge to join a conversation about consent. This conversation included a student-led and student-produced play followed by a discussion. The night addressed topics of consent, sexual assault, and communication in an interactive way! Annie Tuthill recorded the performance of the play for us, and you can watch it online…and there will be another performance of it next semester that will have an added scene. This will be a part of new-student orientation, and returning students are always going to be encouraged to attend. I don’t think that anyone is ever “complete” when it comes to learning about consent, there is always more to learn and apply to ones life. It is about creating a culture of consent, and applying consent to our lives through practice and advocacy. Consent goes far beyond “yes” and “no”, and learning about it and sharing that education is key to creating a safer world. Sharing experiences and information to educate people is revolutionary in a country that is currently based in rape culture. I encourage you to do research on what rape culture means, and start looking for examples that you come across in daily life…and call it out! Also research about consent, and apply your learning to your life, listen to people when they share their experiences, and work to make your campuses and society at large a place that will not tolerate sexual assault or harassment.
The GMC Consent Play & Discussion happened while Columbia University student and survivor of rape, Emma Sulkowicz, is carrying a mattress around campus until Columbia expels her assailant. Colleges and universities are known to not be safe places in reference to sexual assault. “Today, 78 American colleges, including Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Amherst, Swarthmore, Brandeis, Emerson, and a slew of West Coast schools from UC Berkeley to USC to UCLA, are under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.” (due to not addresses rape and sexual assault on their campuses). I highly encourage you to read this incredible article about Emma Sulkowicz and her senior project that has had influences in our government and both Obama & Hillary Clinton have referenced her project in past days. http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/09/emma-sulkowicz-campus-sexual-assault-activism.html
The consent play was a starting place and conversation starter of the semester, and we will continue to have dialogue about how to increase awareness and education on these topics to make sure we are fostering a culture of consent in our student body! Check out our performance of the play here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbIKS_TsiYU