This year's Dalhousie Consent Week (Sept. 18-23) aims to improve the practice of consent as a cornerstone of all relationships.
Campus will be filled with activities and workshops tackling themes of boundaries, respecting bodily autonomy and responding to rejection.
“Consent is one of those things that still affects you, even if you have not been directly affected by sexualized violence,” says Lyndsay Anderson, who is the sexualized violence advisor with Dal's Human Rights and Equity Services (HRES) and a key organizer of the week's programming.
“Consent culture also applies to other things that are not sexual based. It is important to learn how to be respectful, communicative and attentive to people’s reactions when you interact with them, regardless of whether it involves something sexual or not.”
Students can learn more about consent and campus support at the Consent Awareness Booth, which will be rotating through Dal residences during the week.
“When I talk to students, they can rattle off a definition of what consent is on paper, but I think putting it into practice is a different story,” says Anderson. “It’s about improving people’s practice of consent rather than just their knowledge of it.”
An inclusive approach
Venus Envy, a queer and trans-centred bookstore and sex shop in Halifax, will be hosting a workshop on Confidence, Consent, and Communication: How Sex-Positivity Makes for Hotter Sex.
“Conversations about consent don’t have to end in the bedroom,” says Ry Pembroke, who will facilitate the workshop. “While I think that the direct focus of this is about sexuality, it’s also about strong communication with each other.”
DalOUT is a society dedicated to providing support and various educational and sexual health resources for LGBTQ2S+ students.
They will be hosting a Consent and Queer History Trivia on Wednesday Sept. 20 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, in room 2016 at the McCain Arts and Social Science Building. Students can test their knowledge in themes of health and wellness, sex education and queer history.
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Something for everyone
A trauma-informed yoga class will be offered on Monday (Sept. 18) at 6:30 pm in room C170 at the Collaborative Health Education Building.
On Friday (Sept. 22), there will be a film-Screening of The Feminist on Cellblock Y in the Weldon Law Building. This documentary examines the issues of patriarchy and carceral systems by following a feminist movement in an all-male prison.
“This was included in Consent Week to really turn our focus to men,” says Anderson. “How they can be involved in prevention work and how we can better engage people who cause harm and really try to work with them in ways that are different and more meaningful in terms of accountability.”
In addition to Consent Week, HRES is offering a new bystander intervention program called Waves of Change. The program uses a peer-facilitated preventative approach to sexualized violence and covers themes of bystander intervention, social change and accountability.
To learn more and register for this week’s activities, visit the HRES website.
Any societies interested in collaborating with HRES for Consent Week in the future can email HRES@dal.ca.
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