Temple Student Government hosts discussion on consent

Presenters from several campus organizations answered students’ questions on the topic like what consent is and what it looks like in our everyday lives.

President of It’s On Us TU Shira Freiman leads a discussion on consent at the Wellness Resource Center in the Student Center on Sept. 10, 2019. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Student Government hosted a workshop in collaboration with the Wellness Resource Center to help destigmatize conversations around consent Tuesday evening. It was the second event of Sexual Assault Prevention Week.

Hosts from TSG, the Wellness Resource Center and It’s On Us TU — Temple’s branch of the national sexual assault prevention program — all gathered in the Wellness resource center and led a discussion among roughly 30 students on the topic and fielded questions about how people talk about consent, how consent is define and what consent looks like in everyday life. 

Consent which is the permission for something to happen or agreement to do something, is difficult to discuss, said Shira Freiman, the president of It’s On Us TU.

“These difficult conversations don’t even need to necessarily be difficult, but we live in a society that makes them so difficult,” said Freiman, a senior psychology and criminal justice major. “But if we don’t know how to properly communicate with one another, not even just on a sexual level, but with everyday consent, then we don’t really know one another.” 

Laryssa Banks, TSG’s vice president of services, said consent is involved in everyday events, like hugging loved ones or tagging friends on social media.

“Consent is literally everywhere around you, not just in touch,” said Ammani Khan, TSG’s director of campus life and diversity, who was in the audience on tuesday night. 

“I think if you can put those things into everyday life as a student leader, you’re spreading that message of positive consent everywhere you go,” said Khan, a junior  human development and community engagement major with a double minor in political science and education.

Presenters suggested using the acronym FRIES — freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific — to define consent. The term was coined by Planned Parenthood in 2016 according to an article from bustle. 

“It’s so important to create a culture where everybody can feel affirmed and included,” said Liz Zadnik, assistant director of the Wellness Resource Center. “Anything that gets us closer to a trauma-sensitive, trauma-informed culture is going to be best for everybody, regardless of their lived experience.” 

Zadnik said she remains hopeful that conversations like these will help society normalize a culture of consent. 

“By practicing consent everyday, those practices are going to help somebody we care about or someone we don’t even know feel more welcome, more human, more seen, more connected, and part of a community,” Zadnik added.

TSG hosted “Write Off Sexual Violence,” an event in which people wrote letters of encouragement addressed to survivors of sexual assault, at the intersection of 13th and Montgomery streets on Wednesday.

TSG will host a Title IX workshop at the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership on Broad Street near Diamond on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Sexual Assault Prevention Week will conclude with a speaker panel at the IDEAL office at 4 p.m. on Friday.

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