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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Seminar looks to cut through euphemisms, define consent

Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will

An attendee of Aggies for Reproductive Justice’s “Creating a Culture of Consent,” writes a slang term for penis as part of an ice breaking activity.

“Penis.” “Clitoris.” “Vagina.” 
Posters bearing these words covered the walls of Rudder 404 in hopes of inspiring students to speak candidly about sex at Aggies for Reproductive Justice’s “Creating a Culture of Consent” Thursday afternoon.
Attendees were encouraged to write euphemisms beneath the target words listed on the posters. Political science sophomore and ARJ treasurer Emmalea Laningham said while these euphemisms are popular, they’re not the best method for conveying consent in sexual situations.
“It’s funny in a joking manner,” Laningham said. “But when you’re in the bedroom and you need to say, ‘I’m not comfortable with this,’ and you’re using a euphemism that somebody doesn’t understand, like, ‘I don’t really want to Netflix and chill tonight’ — that’s not very useful when you’re talking about consent.”
The seminar centered largely on defining consent in different situations. Using a stoplight metaphor, students were asked to call out “red light” in situations where consent wasn’t given or where it was revoked. Conversely, students were asked to call out “green light” in situations where clear consent was given. 
Students were also educated on “yellow light” situations. Laningham said these are situations where consent isn’t as clearly given or revoked.
“Sometimes can get kind of murky,” Laningham said. “We get this maybe area. The maybe areas can sometimes be the most dangerous… But these are situations that happen every single day.”
The seminar also examined how the university defines consent, referring to Student Rule 24, which defines consent as “clear, voluntary, and positive verbal or nonverbal communication that all participants have agreed to the sexual activity.” 
“Now all of you will be prepared to help people in those situations and yourself because a lot of people don’t know that TAMU will do as much as it can to protect you and make you feel comfortable as well,” Laningham said.
Geography junior and vice president of ARJ Jessica Balderas said consent is distorted by victim blaming. Balderas said statements like “what were you wearing?” are harmful towards the victims and ignore the topic of consent entirely.
“It really shouldn’t matter what the person was wearing because that does not define them and that doesn’t mean that they’re giving consent,” Balderas said.
Attendees were given pamphlets and information on what to do in situations where sexual violence has occurred as well as different strategies for defining consent in their own sexual experiences. Psychology senior and ARJ president Laura Reid also said consent will be a recurring theme throughout their bimonthly meetings. 

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