In April 2012, SACHA (the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton & Area) in partnership with the YWCA Hamilton, initiated a project at McMaster University focused on engaging students (ages 17-24) in the prevention of violence against young women on campus. The information gathered through the “It’s Time” project informed eight key recommendations that could be addressed to better prevent violence against young women on our campus. Let us tell you about one of the recommendations we have been working on…
For the past year, the Student Wellness Centre in partnership with Human Rights and Equity services have been leading the development of an annual campus wide Education and Awareness Campaign intended to engage all aspects of the McMaster community on issues of violence against women and gender based violence (Recommendation #8). With much appreciated support from the Anti-Violence Network, the Women and Gender Equity Network and the Student Health and Education Centre, we are ready to launch the first component of the campaign.
Consent is important in every sort of sexual encounter whether it is a hug, a kiss, a cuddle or penetrative sex. And, consent is applicable for all situations that include sexual encounters such as a one night stand, a long term partnership, a date, a fling, a marriage, and no matter the gender or number of participants involved.
It is important to remember that everyone has different boundaries around sexual consent: some people may not want to have penetrative sex, some people may be unable to move into different positions because of physical abilities and some people’s culture of religion may make them unwilling or unable to engage in certain sexual encounters. All of this must be kept in mind when discussing consent. But, most importantly, it must be discussed with everyone!