Campaign aims to raise sexual assault awareness, spark dialogue about importance of consent

Kore Chan/Senior Staff

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The ASUC Office of the President’s sexual assault task force launched a campaign Friday to raise awareness of sexual assault and spark dialogue about the importance of consent during sexual activity.

A central part of the Cal Consent Campaign is social media outreach and placing posters in various locations throughout campus. The campaign, which will run through the end of the month, has a theme of safe party practices for Halloween.

The campaign seeks to educate and inform students about consensual practices during sex and give them the proper vocabulary to communicate with their partners.

Posters will be placed in Greek and cooperative housing, residence halls, local restaurants and on campus, according to Alana Baum, a sexual assault policy coordinator for the Office of the President. They feature images of men and women dressed in costumes as well as statements such as “My costume is not my consent” and “I’m not asking for it.”

“Halloween specifically speaks to me because there is this idea that we are putting on a costume and leaving behind the ideas and values that we might not embody when we are ourselves,” Baum said. “I think there needs to be a conversation about the idea that no matter what you’re wearing, sexual violence is never OK.”

Additionally, the campaign kicks off the campus’ sexual assault awareness month in November, which is sponsored by the Office of the President.

“This Cal Consent Campaign is really part of our office’s efforts to better educate the student body about sexual assault and the importance of consent,” said  Austin Pritzkat, ASUC President DeeJay Pepito’s chief of staff. “Hopefully, by creating this conversation, we’re able to combat some sexual assault.”

According to UCPD Lt. Eric Tejada, UCPD will conduct its regular Southside safety patrol on Halloween night. He also said UCPD has not noticed a significant uptick in sexual assaults coinciding with the holiday in previous years. Nevertheless, he advised students to take caution.

“We still want to remind people to use alcohol responsibly, look out for their friends and use our walk services if they can,” Tejada said.

Karen Hughes, a coordinator for [email protected] — a group affiliated with University Health Services that aims to reduce alcohol-related risks and harm among students — reiterated Tejada’s sentiments, saying students should be mindful of their alcohol consumption when going to parties.

“If alcohol is part of the festivity, we always promote mindful not mindless alcohol service and consumption,” Hughes said in an email.

The Office of the President is also partnering with Bay Area Women Against Rape to host a benefit 5K run Nov. 3.

Jennie Yoon is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @jennieyoon_.