Theories on Party With Consent #3: Stopping it at its Source


The typical response of decision-makers, specifically at colleges, that notice sexual violence has become an issue in their community is hiring a one-time speaker or group to campus to discuss healthy sexual culture, sex positivity, how to ask for consent, and maybe stuff about orgasms. But we must consider the timing of these speakers/presentations. They are typically in the mid-afternoon on a weekday. We must consider the location of the speaker/performance. They are typically in a large lecture hall.

But John, why do we need to consider that?

Good question. Because the context when and where these presentations take place is not the context where sexual violence happens. Therefore, we must now consider, “Are these speakers preventing sexual violence in our community? Or are they simply talking about sexual violence prevention?” There is no doubt that we need to start somewhere. But, what are the chances that a student holds onto the message one month after the one-time presentation? What about six months? What about a year?

We have become comfortable saying, “If we have a room full of 200 people listening and we get 5 people to really grasp the issue we’ve made a difference.” I agree. But what about the other hypothetical 195? That’s a 2.5% success rate. I don’t think I’m naive to say that we can re-think this and do better. I don’t think I’m naïve to say that one-time speakers don’t make a sustained impact. If they did, wouldn’t all of our academic courses be “one-class” courses, as well?

This is the exciting aspect of Party With Consent, due to injecting the message that these educators/speakers/presenters discuss into the time and setting where and when sexual assault happens, we have created a more direct prevention of sexual assault. Furthermore the focus is on a “movement” rather than a “speaker”. Our goal is to sustain the movement at every community we bring PWC to. We do this through selling PWC tanks, PWC cups, throwing our own “Party With Consent” themed parties, and finding great student leaders at respective schools.

I’ve been told stories where Party With Consent has directly prevented sexual assault and I’ve been told how the message changed individual’s party tendencies.

Yet, I’m not saying Party With Consent is perfect at this. What I am saying is by injecting the healthy messages directly into the space where and when the unhealthy voices and decisions are amplified (parties), by trying to stop the problem at main context in which the problem happens, we have a better chance of making a direct impact on preventing sexual violence. 

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