This month CSUB partners alongside the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault (AAFVSA) to recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. In doing so, faculty members and students have brought the Consent Project to the CSUB campus to increase awareness in the lives of college aged students.
Implemented first at Humboldt State University, the Consent Project is designed to create a safe space for victims and non-victims of sexual or domestic violence to learn more about the issue and to build an open dialogue about the notion of consent and what it means. “What first got me interested in bringing this project to our campus was that I liked the idea of holding a conversation about consent,” said Janet Millar, Vice Chair of the Academic Senate. “I want students to start the conversation about what it means to give your consent in relationships and to know that when it comes to consent, the response is black and white. Only yes means yes.”
For its kick-off event held today, the Consent Project featured a color-coded t-shirt design station where students wrote messages of encouragement to take a stand against violence, which will be hung inside the Student Union. Students also signed written pledges, which they later read aloud together, after listening to the school’s proclamation against sexual and domestic violence that was read by President Horace Mitchell.
For Junior, Julieta Rodriguez, the Consent Project’s message hit close to home because of family members that have experienced domestic violence. “I decided to attend this event because I wanted to become aware about the issues concerning sexual and domestic violence and wanted to be to be there for my family who has been affected,” said Rodriguez. “I want them to know that they are not alone and that together we can be the voice against violence.”
AAFVSA’s Rape Prevention Education Specialist, Maria Mendez says most sexual assaults occur between the ages of 18-25 and are done by someone that the victim knows. “I think we need to educate students about consent and help them to build the courage to have a consent conversation in their relationships or to not be a bystander for those that they see involved in an abuse relationship, she said.”
To bring awareness to the rest of the campus, students were given teal ribbons to tie around the trees across the campus. For the rest of this month, the Consent Project will be hosting a variety of events such as a panel discussion on relationships and sexual responsibility as well as a training program in the Residence Halls to teach students about how to help or intervene if they see their friends or peers in unhealthy relationships.
For more information about the project and events, be sure to check out the alliance’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/aafvsa.
– Story by Breana Oliver, CSUB Public Affairs & Communications Intern
– Copy Editing and Photos by Irma Cervantes, CSUB Public Affairs & Communications Coordinator