Sep

2

Let’s Talk About Consensual Sex

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Consent is still sexy at the NSOP HQ. We’ve heard from freshpersons about the classic Class Act and the first Lit Hum class, and now we’re getting down to the saucy stuff. Bijan Samareh, CC’15 consented to report:

Attention all first years! If you missed yesterday’s Consent 101 and Branching Out With Health Services seminars, you are in immediate danger. And by that I mean you will probably receive a crapton of e-mails from some administrative body, kind of penalizing you but kind of not. Needless to say, it was an informative two hours full of enough campiness and awkward moans to last you the semester.

The “Consent is Sexy” forum consisted of two or three orientation groups joining forces and popping a squat on the cold floors of Lerner to define consent, define what isn’t consent, and learn about the available resources for safe sex on campus [see also Bwog’s definitive guide to condoms]. Below is a pop quiz that pretty much sums up the lesson:

What is consent?

  1. A four legged crab
  2. What you think it is
  3. Oh man, that thing was today?

If you answered B, you are correct! Other (actual) highlights from the discussion include:

  • Don’t sexually assault people in elevators
  • In case you don’t trust yourself, give your partner a whistle so they can notify you if accidentally start sexually assaulting them
  • Don’t sexually assault people whose cars break down on the road

Free condom cases were given out to house the Lifestyle brand condoms distributed in the residence halls. “Hehe, let’s go put these on someone’s doorknob”, says your hall mate who has never seen a condom before. “I’m totally going to use these all the time bro”, says your hall mate who is trying too hard and pockets 50. “Sigh”, says your hall mate who decided to keep his high school relationship going.

For the Health Services show, everyone was moved to Roone, where a surprisingly entertaining and comedic performance informed the first-year student body about assorted health issues. The production followed the story of three first years: One whose roommate comes home drunk every night (NSLOPS?), one whose roommate has a masturbation problem (it turns out she just likes to practice deep breathing), and one whose roommate is a total slob. The narrative was full of actually funny jokes and a lot of not-so-subliminal advertising for the school’s various health resources. In my opinion however, there was a subtle love triangle between the three main characters, which served as an allegory for space colonization.

Despite the descriptions above, the university holds such information sessions for a very important reason, and those who organize and participate in the events should be admired for the time they spend. Judging by the amount of first-years seen crawling back to bed after a night of shenanigans in Carman or on frat row*, safety and consent are very important issues on the Columbia campus, and below are resources everyone should know about:

http://health.columbia.edu/services/svprp/advocacy-outreach
http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/
http://health.columbia.edu/

*In case you catch a friend in such a situation, make sure to carry them back to their dorm Superbad style, serve them a glass of warm milk (a COOP Nalgene full of iced water), and sing them a lullaby (assure them that you won’t think any differently of them).

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6 Comments

  1. seriously, think

    students sexually assault - including rape - other students during Orientation Week (and the first month of school, and the second, and third...), but most of them aren't going to name it that because the victim didn't say "no" or didn't struggle or whatever excuse they use to justify their asshole actions. a lot of students are going to be doing things they've never done before or at such an extreme level - trying drugs, getting completely smashed, etc. that they're taken advantage of when they are not in their normal state of mind.

    don't take advantage of other people! if at any point during an interaction with a potential partner, you think, "i don't think s/he's very enthusiastic about this," just freaking STOP. learn to read body language! listen for enthusiastic yeses! don't be a rapist!

    rape on campus happens. it's extremely depressing to go to Take Back the Night and hear how many stories are about victims who were raped in the first months of school.

    ps: if you're dancing with someone, grinding does not give you the automatic right to also grope their chest or nether regions. that's sexual assault, kiddies. (this is basic dance etiquette! i should not have to tell people this, but there are always incidents!)

    • VERY WELL-SAID

      A few important things to note also:

      1.) If you think you're the victim of sexual assault DO NOT REFRAIN FROM REPORTING IT. Sometimes you don't want to admit to yourself that you were raped/assaulted, because the stigma of feeling like a victim is strong enough to scare you away. Sometimes you think nobody is going to believe you because they'll say it was your fault for being in that situation. Sometimes you think it wasn't such a big deal because it happens to everyone. Realize though, that the only way to combat the rape culture that contributes to so much underreporting of sexual assaults, is to be strong and not remain silent.

      2.) As the person above me notes, "learn to read body language." Consent is not just vocal. A person does NOT need to explicitly say "STOP!" or fight you back for it to be clear that it is non-consensual. If you're unsure about the situation, it is better to err on the side of stopping.

      3.) If you think that just because a person is "promiscuous" it must mean that they obviously "want it," and that gives you a free pass, YOU ARE WRONG. Likewise, though, if you think that just because a person is "prudish" they "don't know what they want" or "they don't know that they'll like it," and that gives you a free pass, YOU ARE WRONG. Do not think you can predict a person's level of consent because of flawed ways of categorizing them.

      4.) Always keep an eye on your friends.

      5.) Alway seek consent for specific sexual acts. Even if it sounds ludicrous to you that a person who performed oral sex on you doesn't want to be spanked, don't do it.

  2. omg

    shut up, its college stuff happens get over it...

  3. AJ

    Seriously, think above has a real anger/victim problem. I would be scared to dance with you! I might wind-up in jail!

  4. sigh

    and the two above are perfect examples for why people feel hesitant to report sexual assault. dismissive and trivializing in five sentences or less!

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