What Does 'Proper Consent' Mean?

What Does 'Proper Consent' Mean?

Let's end the "one in five women" statistic.
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After the ruling in the Brock Turner sexual assault case, in the past week, sexual assault and consent are two major topics of conversations in person and on the Internet. People from all around the world, including Vice President Joe Biden, are sharing their feelings and opinions about the case and Turner's sentence.

As a nation and a society, we have made leaps and bounds in awareness of rape culture and recognizing the need to truly punish those who commit acts of sexual assault. However, college campuses clearly still need to improve and implement programs about sexual assault and consent. The statistic that one in five women on a college campus will be raped should shock the nation, but it is not until cases like these where we see the validity of it.

Rollins does a great job to provide students with many opportunities to educate themselves through programs and presentations. First semester, all of the Greek organizations at Rollins were required to attend a program about being safe with alcohol for yourself and your friends. As a woman on a college campus, I know the previous statistic exists, and I know I need to be an active bystander and not a passive one. That means, as a bystander, I step up and help instead of standing there with the hope that someone else will come to the person's rescue.

In my freshmen year, I was aware of the statistic from above, but I did not expect to ever have to intervene in a situation. That changed at one club night for Rollins students when I witnessed how misunderstood the concept of consent can be. One of my friends was dancing with a guy and I thought she was having fun jamming to the DJ and being surrounded by friends. At least she looked like she was until she attempted to walk towards me and then fell on top of me. I thought she just wanted to come over and see how I was doing and dance with her friends. It was then I noticed she was pretty intoxicated, and after I managed to stand her up, she told me the guy she had been dancing with was trying to do something that she did not like.

I knew she could not give proper consent, but apparently the guy she was dancing with did not understand. Shortly after that, the guy made his way over to us and they started to dance again. I kept my eye on him and soon noticed he kept trying to put his hand down her pants and my friend was pushing his hand away. As I realized what was happening, my adrenaline started pumping and I knew I had to act quickly. I grabbed her arms, counted to three, and turned us around so that I was now in front of him and my friend was standing in a circle with our friends.

He then said to me, "Oh, c'mon, we were just having fun!" and I seriously could have punched him right then and there, but instead I said, "No means no a**hole." Then I turned around, walked my friend to the door, gathered the friends we had come to the club with and went home.

After that experience, I knew something was really wrong with the concept of consent. Even though my friend was not saying, "No," out loud, her pushing his hand away clearly showed she did not want him to do that. Consent is a hard subject because most people think, "No means no," but what happens when the person cannot give proper consent? There is a grey area that needs to explained, and more education on consent needs to happen.

I stumbled across this British video about consent that was released by the Thames Valley Police in 2015. Even I have had trouble with figuring out the concept of consent, but this video makes it a whole lot easier to understand.

As the Brock Tuner case became viral, I have not been able to stop thinking about this night at the club with my friends. Because there many more girls out there with the same experience, except maybe a friend wasn't there to help.

We need to teach our future generations what consent means and to only accept proper consent. That means, if someone is drunk, high or their judgment is otherwise compromised, or if someone unconscious, then proper consent cannot be given.

Cover Image Credit: Zoë Hernandez

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Dear College Kids, Contact Your Legislators

Finding your political voice can seem daunting but it's important to realize that our legislators are just normal people who happen to work for us in government.

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As we come to the end of another legislative session, it's important to reflect on all of the good that has happened but also the things that need work on. After entering college, my political voice and passion have only increased.

I definitely cared about politics in high school but after entering college and finding a group that helped me find a community gave me more courage to speak up about the things that I care about.

There is such power in a community. And that is something that I never realized that I was missing until I had it. I completely understand how daunting it can seem to start getting politically vocal.

Especially if you have unpopular or controversial opinions. As someone who grew up in an extremely conservative region, it took me a long time to feel comfortable and confident standing in my beliefs which largely align with the left. But the only thing that I can tell you is that your minor discomfort and fear is so worth it.

I remember being nervous to display that first planned parenthood pin, not to mention that first nerve-wracking call to a legislator. But I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is not nearly as scary as it appears. It is easy to see our legislators as people standing on pedestals that are so far detached from our reality.

But the reality is that our legislators are normal people. They are mothers, fathers, carpenters, activists, and from a million other walks of life. And it truly helps to change your perspective when you contact your representatives. It helps you to feel more comfortable around them and it helps to prove that our legislators are everyday people.

They are everyday people with power only granted to them by us. Our legislators work directly for their constituents. And so even if your legislators have polar opposite opinions to yours, it is still imperative that we voice our opinions.

How are our legislators supposed to know that their constituents care about reproductive healthcare, comprehensive sex education, LGBTQ+ protections, and so many other issues that directly affect our daily lives?

I cannot stress enough just how important these seemingly small steps of action are. Call your legislator. Email them about an issue you care about. If you have the chance, attend a lobby day about an issue that you feel passionately about.

In our society, it's easy to view people in power as distant and out of reach but we cannot forget that the United States was founded on the rule of the people by the people. So people, call your legislators.

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