Presentation on theme: "Let’s Talk About Consent"— Presentation transcript:
1 Let’s Talk About Consent Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentFocus on the First Year ConferenceJanuary 27, 2015Presented by:Connie Boehm & Karen Kyle
2 Learning Outcomes Understand the complex issues Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentLearning OutcomesUnderstand the complex issuesUnderstand the impact of alcohol, communication, and social normsIdentify ways to engage students in meaningful discussionsIdentify strategies for involving partners across campusThis is everybody’s issue and need to pull in everyone in order to change a culture. The issue is complicated by the alcohol culture on our campus and its impact on communication and social norms. Fraternity and sorority life complicates this issue along with the party scene. On our campus fraternities and sororities set the tone for our party scene. We also have a very active bar scene adjacent to campus and in the downtown area that first year students often take cabs to.Need to break into the culture and break the stigma about talking about this. This is very clear when I share some of the results of our focus groups around consent.
3 Let’s Talk About Consent Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About Consent1991-Antioch Colleges Consent Policy1994-1st VAWA tough penalties for abusers2005-2nd Sexual Assault Services Program, direct services and advocacy for survivors2010-1st national roundtable on sexual assault2013 Obama-3rd reauthorization of VAWA, brought new resourcesThis timeline exhibits the attention and action that sexual violence incidents have gained over the years starting in the 1990 all the way up to Starting with the rather bizarre consent policy of Antioch college in 1991 to then Senator Biden’s Violence Against Women’s Act that enacted tough penatlies for abusers to the 2nd reauthorization in 2005 with more advocacy services for survivors to the 1st national roundtable on sexual assualt to the 3rd in 2013 which brought further resources to the recent January 2014, Obama’s new call to action for rape and sexual assault. The call to action continues to focus on campuses and ways to make our campuses safer in regards to sexual violence: policy, advocacy, prevention, law enforcement (the entire culture).
4 Antioch College Sexual Offense Prevention Policy Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentAntioch College Sexual Offense Prevention PolicyConsent must be obtained each and every time there is sexual activityThe person who initiates sexual conduct is responsible for verbally asking for the “consent” of the individual(s) involvedThe person with whom sexual conduct is initiated must verbally express “consent” or “lack of consent”Antioch College in Yellow Spring, OH, developed a Sexual Offense Prevention Policy in 1991 that received national attention and was much-lampooned for its very specific and detailed policy. It was even the subject of an SNL skit because it required each new sexual act to be approved/discussed before moving to the next. For its part, Antioch College has always said that they knew parts of it were essentially un-enforcable, but they wanted to be sure that their message was clear and that students understood the philosophy and position of the school. The college closed in 2007 due to lack of enrollment but reopened last fall. This is their current policy, which has some slight differences from the original 1991 policy, but it is still progressive.
5 Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy Center Let’s Talk About ConsentAntioch College, cont.Each new level of sexual activity requires consentIn order for “consent” to be valid, all parties must have unimpaired judgment and shared understanding of the nature of the act to which they are consenting, including the use of safer sex practicesAll parties must disclose personal risk factors and known STIsAntioch College Student Handbook
6 Relationship to “Dear Colleague” Letter Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentRelationship to “Dear Colleague” LetterDefinition of sexual violence includes acts perpetrated when a person is incapable of giving consentObligation to use “preponderance of evidence” standard to resolve complaints“Take prompt and effective steps to end the sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects…”
7 The word “consent” is easily defined Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentComplexity of ConsentThe word “consent” is easily definedLaws and codes of student conduct clearly state that consent must be present AND that a person cannot consent if they are substantially impairedAlcohol and drugs are clearly understood as impairing functioningOn paper, the meaning of consent is clearly defined and laid out with consistency among colleges and universities. But in the day to day lives of students, it becomes very gray and not easily defined. Why is that? Why is a concept which is so clearly defined on paper so difficult to teach students?
8 Complexity of Consent, cont. Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentComplexity of Consent, cont.Society’s messaging conflictsSocial media influenceImplied consentSociety’s messages - gender based: Women use indirect communication so as not to hurt feelings, role is sexual gatekeepers, interested in long term relationshipsMen: Focus on womens’ dress as a cue for woman’s sexual interest (women did not cite this), instigators of sexual activity, casual sex is a “conquest”Lindgren, et. al., JCSD, Sept/Oct 2009Social Media – access to millions of people, “shock factor” bystander, larger media promotes it by picking up stories, impact on the victim, judging that can occur. We have seen many cases, one in Steubenville, OH, not far from OSU, where high school students recorded someone being raped on their phones, posted videos, and engaged in casual drunken conversations about how someone was getting raped. Bystander effect?Implied consent – dependent on how one perceives actions of another
9 Ohio State University Definition of Consent Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentOhio State University Definition of ConsentAct of knowingly and affirmatively agreeing to engage in sexual activityMust be voluntaryClear, unambiguous actionsAn individual cannot consent who is substantially impaired by any drug or intoxicant; or who is unaware that the act is being committedSome universities go so far as to list signs of incapacitation – slurred speech, stumbling, vomiting.Get questions about who responsible part is when both parties are drunk. As is the case with any conduct case, the person who initiated the activity in question is the responsible individual, regardless of whether they are drunk. Give example of a fire extinguisher being set off in residence hall.
10 May be withdrawn at any time Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentConsent, cont.May be withdrawn at any timePrior sexual activity or relationship does not, in and of itself, constitute consent
11 Lack of understanding about the definition Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentFocus Group FindingsLack of understanding about the definitionNearly all communication is done with non-verbal cues and reading a person’s “vibe." University’s language doesn’t resonate with themPurpose: To understand undergraduate student perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors around the issue of sexual consent.Recruitment: Undergraduate students pulled from SIS system and ed a message about participating. Contained an open link where students could indicate some demographic information as well as the group they would like to attend.Spring female and 5 male focus groups-42 total, Analyzed for themesHow to know if the person you're with has given consent:The only way to know for sure if someone has given consent is if they tell you. One of the best ways to determine if someone is uncomfortable with any situation, especially with a sexual one, is to simply ask. Here are some examples of the questions you might ask:Is there anything you don't want to do?you want to stop?Do you want to go further?Are you comfortable? NonverbalsNot responding to your touchPushing you awayHolding their arms tightly around their bodiesTurning away from you or hiding their faceStiffening musclesNot natural to talk about itTexting is used and opens up conversation, taking out a condom,Not cool to verbally ask, negative stigma
12 Consider anything but a “no” or pushing you away as consent Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentConsider anything but a “no” or pushing you away as consentHeld traditional views of sexuality and gender expectations Rape myth acceptance and victim-blaming attitudes were seemingly highMales give women the responsibility to say yes or no, “if you don’t say yes or no then it is a yes.”Men are expected to instigate sex, men are socialized to never turn down sex, men feel that they are entitled to sexMen think they have a better shot if they just start making moves rather than getting shot down if they ask,Takes guts to ask and overcome the fear of rejectionIt's not rape ifthey're datingthere was no force/violence involvedshe didn't fight itshe went home with himshe wasn't aware of what was happeningshe said no but really meant yesNeed to build empathy for survivors, avoid promoting risk reduction techniques-don’t walk alone, place blame on perpetrators.
13 Sexual Violence Prevention Efforts Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentSexual Violence Prevention Efforts“Results of Lawyer’s research in 2010 suggest that prevention efforts may be enhanced by a more comprehensive discussion that includes the relationship between alcohol and drug consumption among college females and risk for sexual assault.”(Lawyer, 2010)How many of you include alcohol prevention messaging with your sexual violence prevention messaging.My thoughts:We need to talk about alcohol and other drug prevention in all of our efforts. We can no longer think our prevention efforts can exist in silos.
14 Implications for the Future Student Wellness Center Student Advocacy CenterLet’s Talk About ConsentImplications for the Future“Affirmative Consent” policyDismissal as the standard sanctioning policy for sexual assaultUse of outside investigatorsRole of alcoholNeurobiology of traumaAAU survey – allows comparisonOSU uses dismissal as the standard sanction when penetration of any kind has occurred. We have already dismissed several students under this new standard. Coupled with the evidence standard being changed from “clear and convincing” to “preponderance of evidence”, it will happen more frequentlySome universities are utilizing outside sources to conduct the sexual misconduct investigations and then leaving sanctions to the conduct office