Student Involvement Raises Awareness of Domestic Violence
WCC started off Domestic Violence Awareness Month by holding the “Consent is Key” event in the Student Center, a collaboration between the Student Involvement and Personal Counseling departments.
Students were able to take photos of themselves or their partners and put them in keychains sporting the event’s name, reminding them that consent is important in any relationship.
“The goal of the Consent is Key event was to raise sexual assault awareness, promote bystander intervention, and challenge rape culture through education, advocacy, and activism,” said Rachele Hall, the Associate Director for Community Building and Co-Curricular Programs in the Department of Student Involvement. “For the purpose of Domestic Violence Awareness Month specifically, consent is when a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity with another person is made. Consent is important because without consent, sexual activity is considered to be sexual violence.”
WCC has several different resources for victims of sexual assault. Across the campus are several blue light posts which can immediately call emergency personnel when used. Security is on campus at all times.
There are other ways to access help, shown on the WCC website. If at any time one does not feel safe, regardless whether the situation is of a sexual nature or not, there are resources that can be accessed, on and off campus.
Although WCC is not like a four-year college with dorms, relationships are still relevant on campus. The Consent is Key event was an easy way for students to become aware of the importance of consent. Students should be able to express their right to say “no.”
Ideal relationships involve appreciation and feelings of security between partners. Finding a partner who understands and respects your boundaries can be hard, but it’s one of the most important aspects of a relationship.
“The Consent is Key event is different from our others because the focus is specifically on raising awareness for Domestic Violence for our college community,” Hall said. “The more aware the community is, the better chance they have at helping themselves or helping someone else.”
It’s important for students to understand that their voices can make a difference, and should never feel that they need to be persuaded into doing anything they are uncomfortable with. Whether they know of someone who has experienced a sexual crime or have experienced it themselves, they are able to get help and have equal access to help.
“I hope they know they have the right to say no and, most importantly, that consent is key,” said Hall, in hopes that all participants felt more comfortable using their voice in whatever kind of intimate relationship they are in.
“I would definitely consider this event a success,” said Hall. “We saw about 70-80 students throughout the day even though it was not a common hour event. Our goal in Student Involvement is to provide opportunities on different days of the week to engage students on campus, not just the Wednesday and Thursday common hour.”