Consent Vital Issue for Women, College Students

Camry Thomas
Staff Reporter

The 2005 report “Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About It” says between 80 and 90 percent of sexual assaults at colleges involve acquaintances, not strangers. In the vast majority of sexual assaults, the victim and assailant know each other. The more likely it is for the rape to be completed, rather than attempted, is if the relationship is more intimate.

The topic of consent might be an uncomfortable discussion to have. This is because not many people know the true definition. Although, many people have their own idea of what it means.

pull quote camry“Consent is the difference between saying yes and no,” said sophomore Makenna Porter.

“Child Sexual Abuse: What Parents Should Know” states that 35.8 percent of sexual assaults occur when the victim is between the ages of 12 to 17 years old. Sexual assaults can happen to any person, at any given time.

“I was an employee at a fast food restaurant, and I was in the back getting french fries out of the freezer. A superior employee was in the same area as me and he wanted to control me with his words and he tried to touch me, but I wouldn’t let him. No means no,” said gym teacher Sallye Uhen.

In that instance, she did not give consent. The legal definition of consent in sexual activity is “the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.” This means that if you don’t want to do something with someone, you don’t have to. You don’t have to comply to someone.

Only 10 to 25 percent of male college rapists were expelled, and according to a database from about 130 college campuses, reported that not many of male rapists were expelled.

In society, we tend to blame the victims for being raped, instead of blaming the rapist. Reports say that 82 percent of all juvenile victims are victims.

There is a thing called rape culture, and society really contributes to it. Women are being taught how to defend themselves, but guys aren’t being taught to not rape.

“It’s awful how girls are being told to stop dressing a certain way, and that they can’t be themselves. We need to teach our sons to ask for consent, not teach our daughters to never leave her drink alone.” said Porter.

Although we experience rape culture, consent has remained one of the top priorities and concerns, from previous years to now.

“I believe that class never goes out of style. The more hipper, cooler, techy, savy and urban we get, we mustn’t forget that some things fade, but class and self respect never go out of style,” said Uhen.

Schools are a contributor to the lack of knowledge on consent. A lot of schools have never really talked about or explained what consent was.

“At my [middle] school, [Northwood] we were only taught about safe sex. They never really focused on the subject of consent.” said sophomore Marisa Earnest.

Consent and respecting others and their personal space are in the “I believe that consent and respecting others tie in together because to respect someone’s decision, is to care about consent,” says Porter.

Consent can lead into respecting others, but more importantly, it starts with yourself.

“As schools, we need to reiterate, educate and review respect. The line is sometimes blurred. Sometimes with relationships, we think of it as sexual but it honestly starts with ourselves. We need to start early on with the students, to help them learn how to respect themselves so that in time, they can respect others too,” said Uhen.



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