Make consent

Photo courtesy of Griffith University | Arts and Entertainment Editor Riley Head begins her series on all of the necessary components of consent in sexual relationships.

As the #MeToo and Times Up movements have shifted the national conversation toward supporting survivors of sexual assault and believing their stories, they have also brought out a whole crop of “concerned” men. Questions like “How am I supposed to flirt with girls now?” and comments like “It seems like everything is sexual assault.” So I am going to answer all of these questions with a very simple answer: consent.

Consent is defined as necessary, sober, explicit, on going and freely given.

I have been at Xavier for almost two years now. In my short time on this wonderful campus, I have made new friends, gotten involved in a variety of clubs and learned how to navigate college academics. But I have also learned that a lot of people here don’t know what consent is. I have heard a huge number of shockingly wrong answers to the question “What qualifies as consent?”

I have heard gut-wrenching stories of people dealing with the sorrow and confusion that come with not knowing if they even gave consent or not—a sexual experience that happened to them instead of with them. I think there is a lot of misinformation even though the answer is shockingly clear. There are no more excuses for sexual assault. The spotlight is on this issue around the world, in pop culture and right here at Xavier. After a non-consensual sexual experience, confusion and powerlessness are normal emotions.

Consent needs to be discussed. It needs to be fully understood. It is a huge and under-discussed problem on Xavier’s campus.

For the next five weeks, the Newswire will be featuring a series on all of the necessary components of consent in sexual relationships. Each week will be a new topic, covering necessary, sober, on going and freely given consent.

Riley Head is a sophomore Philosophy, Politics and the Public and Gender and Diversity Studies double major. She is the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Newswire from Louisville.