Students on K’s campus are working to change the climate around the word “consent”, as demonstrated in a Women Gender and Sexuality class project this past Monday.
Mina Mkrtchian ‘20 and Loveleen Saini ‘20 brought together a group of people to talk about what consent means and how to implement a consent culture here at K. Faculty member included Title IV Director of Gender Equity, Ellen Lassiter Collier, and Mkrtchian and Saini’s professor, Dr. Katerina Stefatos.
The few students included men and women, who all shared their questions and insights. This meeting highlighted the importance of rape and consent as universal matters, challenging the way in which men can often be absent from these conversations.
“Going to an all-boys high school, we all had this skewed idea that college [with girls] would mean sex, or at least a very easy access to it,” said Peter Czajkowski ‘20, who attended U of D Jesuit, an all-boys high school in Detroit. He went on to say how hyper masculinity also causes a huge disconnect among young men’s expectations of sex and the reality of it. Dr. Stefatos and Collier agreed with the sentiment, commenting on all versions of media that perpetuate the hyper sexualization of women and sexual aggression of men.
The meeting, although low in attendance, bore profound results. Mkrtchian shaped the meeting to follow a format made by Creating Consent Culture (CCC) founder, Amber Amour. Amour is a widely known activist who emphasizes the importance of consent and started the movement to help implement these ideals on college campuses. Mkrtchian and Saini intend on starting a CCC Club on campus beginning in Fall 2017. The group discussed what forms this could take and how both men and women could get involved.
Dr. Stefatos also noted how professors should be involved in promoting a safe atmosphere and providing help for those students who need to reach out. Dr. Stefatos asked the students if it would be beneficial to have a group of professors who educated themselves on consent and sexual violence, and made themselves an accessible resource for students. The answer was a resounding “yes”.
After the meeting, Mkrtchian posted a photo advertising the CCC Club she intended to start in the fall on Instagram. She tagged Amour (@ambertheactivist), crediting her for the idea. A few minutes later, Amour herself reposted Mkrtchian’s post applauding her work.
“This is a huge win! YOU can start a consent club!” posted Amour above Mkrtchian’s comment. The activist has over 80,000 followers and she shared it on the official page of Creating Consent Culture as well.
“We are getting somewhere, I have so much faith in us,” said Mkrtchian, responding to Amour’s promo. Mkrtchian saw it as a sure sign that creating club focused on implementing consent culture is possible, “It starts from the ground up. I want this to be a club that encourages everyone to participate, not just survivors.”