It’s time to put pen to paper.
What does Party With Consent do? Why does it work? How does it work? I might need a whole book to answer these questions sufficiently, but in the meantime I’ll share all of my theories behind Party With Consent — 1st is Positive Prevention.
This starts as a story. In the fall of 2011, there was a attention-grasping sexual harassment case that expelled a number of students and suspended others from my college. This left the community confused, frustrated, angry, and mad. Sexual harassment is an extremely emotional issue, and rightly so. Taking advantage of another human or treating them as an object is wrong and should never be tolerated. Not only is it wrong, but how fulfilling could it truly be? (Will answer that in later post!)
Yet, this emotion quickly turned into anger that blurred the minds of the brilliant problem-solvers of my community. Public forums were extremely well attended, however comments were less than productive. I recall a professor exclaimed, “From this day forward, why don’t we all pledge that we won’t touch anybody in a way that they don’t want to be touched!” I turned to my friend and satirically snickered, “Well, looks like we figured out that problem…” But obviously it was not this simple. I also remember reading a passionate article in the student newspaper from an alumni of my college telling women to have their boyfriends beat up other guys who stock them or to use their teeth if they felt coerced or forced to perform oral sex.
The message was clear.
In a heteronormative, gender role perpetuating way, our community (most notably the older people in our community) was telling the men what they can’t do and telling the women what they should fear and how to protect themselves from it.
I must restate how much I sympathize with the anger that comes with the issue, however this negative way of addressing this was never going to make waves amongst my peers. It’s not a secret, my generation hates being told what to do (Post for another time!) and with all the information at our finger tips we can even give you evidence why we don’t need to listen to you. Furthermore, if the command comes in a negative form, our ears clog even more. Honestly, what college student is going to listen to any 40 something year-old tell them what they can’t do during sex?
This is where Party With Consent comes in. We have the same message as the caring parent, the frustrated professor, and the concerned administration, but we flipped the message to the positive and gave the voice to the students. “Party With Consent is a social movement that brings excitement to campuses and communities by focusing on what you can and what you can be excited for.” This is my first line whenever somebody asks me about the movement.
Are there results that show this works? Can I definitely say that this works? Can I show you the number of sexual assaults this theory has prevented? There’s not and I can’t. But I can tell you that Party With Consent engages college students to talk about consent. Which was a very rare conversation pre-Party With Consent.
So when you’re rocking your Party With Consent tank and someone asks you, “What does Party With Consent mean?” You shouldn’t answer it the way I’ve explained it, you should answer in the way that you understand consent because in that conversation you are taking your college’s sexual culture to the next level (another post for another time!). And you’ve engaged a cutie in a conversation about sex. Damn, you’re killing it right now!
Stay tuned for theory #2 Stopping it at its Source.