ASUC campaign aims to promote consent between partners as part of ongoing initiative

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In an attempt to raise sexual assault awareness on campus, the ASUC Office of the President has launched another visual campaign aiming to apprise the community about consensual sexual activities between partners.

The campaign began Friday as part of the ongoing Cal Consent Campaign spearheaded by the office’s sexual assault task force and aims to address some of the more prominent issues related to consent by displaying posters around campus and on social media.

Similar to the October campaign during Halloween, the posters intend to spark a dialogue among the student body and will be up for a week in Greek and cooperative housing, residence halls, local restaurants and campus buildings, according to Austin Pritzkat, co-chair of the task force and ASUC President DeeJay Pepito’s chief of staff.

Featuring pictures of four anonymous couples and statements such as “Past Consent does not equal Future Consent” or “If you ask to be my Valentine, ask for my consent,” the campaign introduces the idea of affirmative consent.

“When you can’t see someone’s face, you can easily picture yourself there,” said Caitlin Quinn, an ASUC senator involved with the task force. “We try to keep it simple so that everyone can relate.”

Haley Broder, campaign manager and member of the task force, also noted a statistic cited by CalSERVE during its March 2013 campaign — one in three women will experience attempted or completed assault before finishing college.

“Assault isn’t always that image of someone jumping out from a bush — it is almost always someone that you know,” Broder said. “We are trying to reinforce the message that (sexual assault) isn’t just one common picture — it’s in all forms regardless of gender or relationship status.”

This campaign is part of an entrenched discussion about sexual assault on campus. Last May, nine students filed a complaint against UC Berkeley with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging mishandling of sexual assault cases, and in August, California’s state auditor began examining the campus’s processing of these cases. In line with these concerns, the ASUC Senate is planning to put forward a bill by the end of February in support of the Title IX audit and survivors, according to Alicia Arman, a campus mobilizing coordinator involved with the Know Your IX campaign.

After a fair amount of criticism directed at the administration, the campaign aims to break down the myths surrounding the matter and create a safe space for survivors. The campaign will be followed by more events this week and throughout the semester, according to Broder.

“The administration focuses on what people shouldn’t do, but they don’t always give students tools and resources to know what they should do,” said Taylor Fugere, a member of the task force.

Contact Robin Simmonds at [email protected].