Student and local community activists will hold #PledgeforConsentCulture on Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Storke Tower to promote “consent culture” as an alternative to rape culture.
Third-year global studies major Gabriela O’Neal and local event planner and activist BB Barnett spearheaded the event along with Fuck Your Standards (FYS), a local group that challenges unrealistic standards of physical beauty for women. Campus Advocacy Resource and Education (C.A.R.E.) will host a booth at the event where participants can make t-shirts and practice asking for consent, and attendees will have the opportunity to sign a pledge for consent culture.
O’Neal said educating students on consent culture is an important first step in preventing sexual violence on campus.
“Our message is to actively practice it,” O’Neal said. “One in four girls being sexually assaulted while in college does not have to be the reality.”
O’Neal said the demonstration aims to define consent and promote community participation in fighting rape culture.
“Consent is active confirmation about engaging in sexual activity, and our goal is to teach what that means and the consequences of rape culture, taking steps toward replacing a culture of indifference about rape and replacing it with one of actively practicing consent,” O’Neal said.
Barnett said ending rape culture must begin with individuals choosing to help end rape culture rather than “shrugging it off.”
“Our generation is capable of making huge change, but it starts with the individual,” Barnett said. “Society tells us not to get raped instead of not to rape, and if I can inspire people to stand up for each other and their friends, then that is one step forward.”
According to Barnett, the event will call on men to participate in fighting rape culture.
“Getting men engaged and holding other men accountable for sexual assault is huge,” Barnett said. “We want men to stand with us as a powerful statement to further counteract slut-shaming and victim-blaming.”
O’Neal said she hopes to build on the work of other organizations such as #nowUCsb by increasing community support for consent culture.
“We are now working off of that to engage students on a more grassroots level,” O’Neal said.
Graduate assistant at C.A.R.E. Sasha Coles said the event will call attention to rape culture in the days leading up to Halloween weekend.
“People who go to the demonstration will be able to sign a pledge for consent culture, which is especially important with Halloween just around the corner,” Coles said.
Coles said by promoting consent culture as a replacement for rape culture, the event will “reframe the conversations” about sexual violence prevention.
“Rape culture tolerates, accepts and rationalizes rape, sexual assault and violence while mistrusting survivors,” Coles said.