Sexual consent is not something that can easily be discussed. However, it’s an important discussion in the prevention of sexual assault.
Ferris Entertainment Unlimited hosted the Five Star event “Sex Signals” Wednesday, Oct. 19 in the UC with educators from Catharsis Productions to shed light on the culture of consent.
“Two people came in, they were really friendly and they showed us, in a good way, what consent means and how we can help save people from bad decisions,” said Ferris pre-optometry freshman Cole Barnhart.
According to Justin Stevenson, a Ferris hospitality management senior and a primary coordinator of the event, 300-400 students were expected to attend the five Star event for their RSO’s, fraternities or sororities.
“I think the event is important because it gives the aspect and perspective of those who have this experience of being sexually assaulte,” Stevenson said. “[Those who don’t] get an open mind of what happened to this person, what we can do to prevent this from happening to students.”
Catharsis Productions provided two educators, David Seeber and Anne Dufault, who created an interactive performance about what consent means to the American culture.
“We use humor to kind of get into some more difficult conversations, and of course, we’re never making light of those subjects, but we use humor to discuss things like gender roles and these ridiculous stereotypes that people feel like they need to live up to and what those stereotypes, you know, kind of end up doing to our culture,” Seeber said.
Catharsis Productions is a national company that travels to different colleges and universities in hopes of making a difference in how consent is perceived, according to Dufault.
“We try to normalize consent, try to get out the idea that it’s not this awkward thing, and once everybody starts asking for consent, it makes people who don’t care really stand out and that’s a good thing, we want them to stand out,” Seeber said.
Their goal is also to provide support for survivors of sexual assault because it often goes unreported, according to Dufault.
“I think it’s a topic that a lot of people don’t like to talk about or are really uncomfortable to talk about so it was nice to put a lighthearted edge onto it,” said Ferris marketing and sales junior Emily Gleason.
Unfortunately, many students who were interviewed did not know how to report sexual assault on campus.
“If you’ve ever been sexually assaulted and you want to come forward, you can just go to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). If you want to talk more about your situation but in a confident environment, you can go to the counseling center in Birkam,” Stevenson said.