The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Quakers say ‘yes, please, yes’ to consensual sex campaign

Physical abuse. Emotional trauma. The most underreported crime in America.

One in five women and one in 16 men will experience some form of sexual assault while in college, according to Campus Safety Magazine. The danger lurks on college and university campuses nationwide and Guilford is no exception.

With its recent launch of the Sexual Violence Prevention Committee however, Guilford took a first step toward a safer, more informed campus.

“The mission (of the committee) is the education of the students towards the goal of preventing sexual violence,” said Gaither Terrell, director of counseling. “It’s about reducing and preventing instances of sexual violence and responding appropriately to instances of sexual violence when it does happen.”

SVPC includes members from many groups across campus, such as the Counseling Center, Public Safety, the Student Office of Leadership and Engagement, and Sexual Assault Awareness Support and Advocacy, as well as other interested students not directly affiliated with any specific group.

The committee’s diverse membership stems from its mission of spreading awareness to everyone at Guilford.

In his letter to the community, President Kent Chabotar said, “We want every student, faculty member, and staff person on our campus to understand that healthy sexual relationships require consent, to know what constitutes sexual misconduct of all types and what our policies are in regards to it and to be aware of the resources that are available to anyone who has experienced sexual violence.”

While creating the committee was a start, the severity of the issue demanded more, which led to the launch of the “Keep It Consensual: Only Yes Means Yes” campaign.

“The consent campaign is one particular aspect of the larger conversation,” said Director of Student Judicial Affairs Sandy Bowles. “We picked one area of focus for this year, one area to engage the community as a whole instead of just parts of the community.”

The campaign focuses on educating the community about “effective consent,” which cannot be given when one or both parties involved in sexual activity is intoxicated.

“Alcohol is almost always a factor in sexual assaults on college campuses,” said Dean of Student Affairs Aaron Fetrow in an email. “I think everyone now understands that driving under the influence is a really bad idea. Sadly, hooking up under the influence seems to be a norm with the current generation of students, and in some ways it is just as dangerous.”

SVPC plans to promote the program through social media and campus communication, such as The Guilfordian and The Buzz, as well as through events during the entire year.

“There are some movie programs that will be available, so there’s the Men and Masculinity program series that’s going to be run,” said Bowles. “In spring there’ll be the Take Back The Night event, the Clothesline Project, maybe a major speaker … we’ll have the kickoff event soon, and we’ve got T-shirts and condoms to distribute.”

The date for the kickoff event has not yet been determined, but the Guilford community is encouraged to watch for announcements and get involved.

“The committee is very open to student involvement and there’s always room for people who want to be involved,” said junior Chelsea Yarborough, a member of both the SVPC and SAASA.

The success of both the campaign and the committee relies heavily on student involvement. In order to work towards a world free of sexual violence, all voices must be heard and awareness must spread.

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