When the consequence of rape culture is not rape

When the consequence of rape culture is not rape

By: Jonathan Kalin In building Party With Consent, I’ve heard from hundreds of amazing people who share their stories of when their consent was broken. While the majority of these end in some type of sexual assault, many of them don’t. Let me explain. A couple of years ago, a friend told me about an experience when her drink was laced with LSD. Unbeknownst to her at the time, she thought she was going crazy. She spent time with therapists and ended up transferring schools. She was never sexually assaulted. Or the story my friend told me about when she wanted to go on a conference to Paris and when asking her boss for permission, he explained she could only go if she wore “red hot pants”. She said no and wasn’t sexually assaulted by her boss. Or the stories of my friend who had to book group meetings with her boss because of the somewhat ambiguous advances he made towards her in one-on-one meetings. She stuck with the group meeting strategy and her boss left her alone. At times, discussion around preventing sexual assault leads to paralysis: “This happens behind closed doors, what can we do?” “We have to wait for the government/administration to do something.” “I can’t even start to understand how this is happening!” But the reality is rape culture is all around us and starts with objectification from very early development. When we begin to generalize those who are different from ourselves, we start thinking of them not as humans with unique emotions, feelings, and experiences, but rather objects or less than human. And when...
What the new California “Yes means yes” bill means for college students

What the new California “Yes means yes” bill means for college students

By: Jonathan Kalin As the leader of a sexual assault prevention group in college, I facilitated many discussions with my peers on the ways we think about sex, gender, and consent. One of our favorite discussion tools was called “The human barometer”. An activity where a facilitator would read a statement and all those who agreed would stand on one side of the room, all those who disagreed stood on the other side of the room and all those who were somewhere in the middle stood…somewhere in the middle! The statement “Consent is a verbal yes” would always have some students go towards disagree. Responses ranged, “You could be in a long-term relationship and don’t need to take things step-by-step,” or “You can read verbal cues and decide from there,” or in worst cases “It’s the girl’s job to say no, I go until she says no.” While the first two responses are true, we would remind students to always err on the side of communication. However, the last remark represented a fundamental flaw in the way we think about sexual consent. It’s this idea of sexual consent that we need to shift. Sex should not about be about “not getting raped”, it should be about enjoying yourself fully with all parties involved. Imagine if you go to a causal party, you’re not constantly going around alerting everyone of what would be a breach of your consent to ensure your own safety – you simply expect safety. As little as two years ago, I said that sexual consent is a verbal practice which involves a conversation made me out...
So close yet so far: Dangerous ideas on body culture within music

So close yet so far: Dangerous ideas on body culture within music

I’m sure by now you have heard (or at least heard of) the hit songs, “All About That Bass” and “Anaconda,” by Meghan Trainor and Nicki Minaj, respectively. Both artists claim that their tracks celebrate healthy body types and promote positive body image among young women, however, the reality is that these songs simply repackage old ways of talking about sex appeal. It is true that both songs glorify an alternative body type to the currently fetishized stick-thin waif. In the “Anaconda” video, Minaj proudly shakes her substantial butt, and Trainor boasts, “I ain’t no size two…/I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop/we know that shit ain’t real/c’mon now make it stop.” This in-your-face self-confidence is refreshing; however, it is overshadowed and complicated by controversial measurements of self-worth. For starters, both artists affirm their attractiveness by assuring the consumer that their bodies are sexually desirable, implying that in order to feel good about oneself others must find one appealing. Minaj’s lyrics state, “… he love my sex appeal/because he don’t like ‘em boney, he want something he can grab… Yeah, he love this fat ass.” Similarly, Trainor coos, “’Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase/and all the right junk in all the right places… Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size/she says, ‘boys like a little more booty to hold at night.’” Another disconcerting aspect of both songs is that they champion curvier body types by putting down slim women. Minaj states, “Fuck those skinny bitches in the club/I wanna see all the big fat ass bitches in the motherfucking club,...
Union College invites PWC founder for Sexual Assault Awareness Week

Union College invites PWC founder for Sexual Assault Awareness Week

This past Thursday, Union students gathered on three separate occasions to hear from Jonathan Kalin. Although the projector failed, the first discussion took place before a crowd of over 60 students. Kalin opened the discussion with, “I never thought I’d be doing sexual assault prevention work and since I’m a man nobody else did either. In the following hour, I plan to explain to you all to the best of my ability why this is so important to me and is important to all of us.” The discussion ended with some passionate students looking for next steps to build the Party With Consent movement on their campus. Later in the evening, a smaller group of students gathered over dinner to go through the infamous “Introduction exercise” where participants are told to introduce themselves in 30 seconds without mentioning any people they know, places they’ve been, or work that they’ve done. This led to a broader conversation of how we objectify people based on what they are rather than who they are and how stereotyping exists on the spectrum of violence. And finally, Kalin shared his Party With Consent story before nearly 100 Union College athletes. His end goal was to connect lessons of accountability in athletics to lessons of accountability in our community. “What I learned about accountability on the basketball court is directly connected to why I created Party With Consent.” Interested in having Kalin, or another Party With Consent team member, speak at your campus? Reach out to us on our “Contact Us” page. Interested in building a Party With Consent chapter in your community? Reach out...