AskFirst: A Symposium on Creating a Culture of Consent
What does consent mean to university students? How is it perceived and practiced? Who is most likely to seek consent before and during sexual activity? What are the greatest barriers to creating a culture of consent? How can everyone be involved in a culture of consent so that harmful situations are identified and prevented before it's too late?
Understanding how consent is perceived, communicated, interpreted, and acknowledged is a necessary first step toward proactive measures that prevent sexual harassment and assault. This is a priority area for campuses world-wide. Yet, there is a paucity of data on the understanding and experience of consent amongst Canadian postsecondary students and serious disagreement about what, exactly, consent means and how it can be asked for and granted.
The University of Calgary’s Women’s Studies Program and Women’s Resources Center held a symposium that gathered policy makers, educators, media and sexuality scholars, nurses, and community organizations to speak about issues around consent culture. The main organizers, Jenny Godley and Rebecca Sullivan, led the event with a team of volunteers.
Two of the IMPACTS Project research assistants, Chloe Garcia and Alastair Hibberd, attended the conference. PhD candidate Chloe presented her research in a session titled, “ Rape Culture, Girls and Vlogging: How are Young Female Vloggers Shifting the Discourse Around Sexual Consent”.
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