MARCH 24, 2017
AUTHOR: CATHY TORRES
Our first-ever Consent fair was a hit! We created quite a buzz bringing in news outlets like Telemundo, and News Channel 23! Major thanks to our partner organizations for joining us in spreading awareness about Consent — Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE), Texas Freedom Network (TFN), Advocacy for Everyone, The Super Hero Project, Know Your Status, The Office of Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention, The Counseling Center at UTRGV, The Valley AIDS Council, South Texas Equality Project, and the Student Equality Alliance. Students were really engaged and took home valuable information through activities, games, and much more!
Access for Sex-Education at UTRGV organized this unique event because sexual assault occurs way too often. We felt it was important to educate students about consent and how to stay safe, especially in preparation for Spring Break.
CONSENT IS HOT, ASSAULT IS NOT
Every 98 seconds someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. If you think about it, every time it takes to hear two Pandora ads or load one YouTube video, someone you know is at risk for sexual assault. It is an epidemic, and it’s up to our generation to stop it.
Hardly anyone I know has had actual, reliable sex-education and some didn’t even have any sex-ed at all. Knowing this, groups like Access for Sex-Ed at UTRGV encourage young people to learn about the wonders of medically-accurate, comprehensive sex-ed in order to live full, healthy lives.
Distinguishing whether something is consensual or not can be difficult for a lot of people. Some people assume sexting automatically means “yes”. That it’s OK to coerce someone. That if someone doesn’t push away and shout ‘No!’, they must mean, “Yes”. Let’s be clear. If someone doesn’t say ‘yes’ without being pushed, then people should assume they’re saying “No”.
Nonconsensual behavior is so unbelievably common. On college campuses alone in the U.S., 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted every year. Sexual assault survivors usually know their abusers. The idea that a stranger will pop out of the bushes and attack is actually super rare.
It starts with us to stop the wave of sexual assault on campus and in the community. If you see someone who may fall victim, stand up for them. When at a bar or a party and you see someone suspiciously circling around open drinks, call them out. When your buddy tells you a story about how they coerced someone into having sex, call them out. Consent should be a no-brainer; it should be something we all understand and practice consistently. Don’t be a bystander. Always remember CONSENT is HOT, assault is NOT.
- If you have a passion for reproductive health and are interested in joining Access for Sex-Education at UTRGV-Edinburg, “like” us on Facebook!
- If you want to keep that fire for reproductive health burning, volunteer with Access Esperanza Clinics! We have so many opportunities to get involved and give back to your community.