The Importance of Clear Consent-Opinion piece by Calvin Gross

This post is written about an article which appeared in the Daily Beast on June 8th. It tells the account of a reported sexual assault from the accused’s point of view. This article immediately surprised me. I’ve read so many heartbreaking accounts of sexual assaults where the assault was obvious and perpetrators were allowed to walk free, condemning victims to a life of constant fear. But this article isn’t like that. It tells a story where two people experienced the same thing and later made different claims about what happened.  It revealed to me that not every perpetrator is a horrible guy lurking in the corner and hiding his nefarious intentions.  To me, this article is reminder that sexual assault isn’t simple. We’re completely right in wanting to make sure that victims don’t feel powerless and shunned and that perpetrators are punished. Those are good desires that we should never let go of. Ever. But not all cases are cut and dried. Cases do exist like the one in this article, where the actor believed he did have consent. It reminds me that sometimes each party sees things differently, and it’s sad that such confusion can result in so much pain. Despite this, I don’t want to let my sadness to make me forget the horror of what does happen. For every case like this where we might feel some sympathy for the perpetrator, there are countless other cases where the victim feels too hopeless or scared to even tell the authorities. In fact, many many sexual assaults aren’t even reported. That’s why sexual assault is so complicated. We...

Shifting culture and changing the way we talk to men about sexual assault

By: Fritz Parker Even before the identity of the Reynolds High School shooter was released late last week, there was one thing that we already knew about him: he was male. As Upworthy reported after the Santa Barbara shooting last month – which is all but forgotten in the wake of this latest tragedy, as is the trend over the past several years – nearly 100% of mass shooters in the recent history of this country have been men. Think about that. If there was any doubt that we have a pandemic in this country of violently socialized males, it grows smaller and smaller every time that another school shooting shows up on the news. The hardest thing about approaching the problem – and one aspect which has little to do with guns or school safety or any of the other places where people tend to reach for a solution – is that these shooters are only the tip of the iceberg. The violence runs far deeper. It’s no coincidence that all of these shooters are men. The way that our culture interacts with men – telling them from a young age that the world, especially women, owes them things – virtually assures that they will be. When that entitlement is paired with the violence that surrounds masculinity in our culture, it provides the blueprint for these sorts of tragedies. As UCSB shooter Elliot Rodger reminded us, this violence has everything to do with the way that men are taught to view women, and the frightening incidence of sexual assault by men is just as much a symptom of...

Party With Consent in D.C.

  On June 2nd, Jonathan Kalin, founder of Party With Consent, was invited to the International Student House in Washington DC to speak about sexual assault prevention on college campuses. For what turned out to be a crowd of up to 40 grad school students, Kalin shared his story of how he came to working on Party With Consent starting the story from when he was 12 years old and finishing it with his visions for the future of Party With Consent. The Q&A session ran an hour over the allotted time due to some exciting dialogue. The group asked some important and difficult questions, such as: “Why are there so few men working on sexual assault prevention?” “How does Party With Consent balance its awareness messages with its educational messages?” “Have you thought about bringing the Party With Consent message to high schools?” These questions seamlessly transitioned this formal talk into an informal conversation. The conversation included the state of gender-based violence in different countries, the current state of consent education in the United States, and the immediate results of the recent White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Interested in having Kalin, or another Party With Consent team member, speak in your community? Reach out to us on our “Contact Us”...