The student-led campaign aims to fight rape culture on campus and hold UVic accountable
In the coming year, the UVSS Let’s Get Consensual campaign will celebrate a decade of educating and providing sexual health resources to students, according to UVSS records.
During that time, the campaign has partnered with multiple student unions across B.C., including the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union, Okanagan College Students’ Union, and Students’ Union of Vancouver Community College. The Let’s Get Consensual campaign notes their mission is to “make campuses safer by providing judgement-free consent education and training” and to fight rape culture on campuses.
An essential part of the campaign’s ongoing outreach can be found in the gender inclusive washrooms in the Student Union Building (SUB), where students have access to an assortment of sexual health and menstrual supplies including: pads, tampons, external and internal condoms, and lubricant.
“It’s a really important service that we provide for students. Just making sure that as they transition into living on their own for the first time that they have access to safer sex supplies,” said the Director of Campaigns and Community Affairs Izzy Adachi in an interview.
“Ensuring that people aren’t being kept from having safer sex because of budget constraints, and making sure we dont have any sort of period poverty on campus.”
Beyond providing safe-sex and menstrual supplies on campus, Let’s Get Consensual aims to reach students through social media engagement and online workshops.
“With COVID, we obviously had to shift to online outreach and online everything, really,” said Adachi.
“As we move forward we want to make sure we’re providing things that are accessible to everyone. So we’ll still be focussing on making sure the things that we do, especially our workshops, are conducted in a hybrid format [for] people that might not feel comfortable coming to campus yet.”
The two workshops are facilitated through the UVSS Anti-Violence Project (AVP). “Understanding Consent Culture” focusses on “provid[ing] the information, skills, and opportunity to understand and practice consent.” “Supporting Survivors” is a workshop which discusses various tools that can be employed to support someone who has experienced sexualized violence.
“I would recommend the workshop[s] to anyone looking to learn more about how to practice consent in all aspects of their life. I think understanding consent makes us all more empathetic and considerate members of our communities,” said Juliet Watts, a recent UVic alumni, about an AVP consent workshop she attended in 2019.
An integral part of the Let’s Get Consensual campaign is addressing consent and sexualized violence through an intersectional lens. Adachi noted the importance of acknowledging disparities across race, gender, and ability, stating, “When you don’t come from a background that is systemically privileged you are much more exposed to potential sexualized violence.”
In terms of what the future holds for the Let’s Get Consensual campaign, Adachi hopes to continue their current outreach, and also focus on “holding the university accountable to sexualized violence prevention and their policies.”
“We are working with the university to adjust the way that they respond to sexualized violence … there can always be more done, and we are going to be looking for a little bit more accountability from the administration over the next year,” said Adachi.
Further information can be found at the UVSS Let’s Get Consensual webpage: https://uvss.ca/consent/. Workshops can be accessed through the Anti-Violence Project’s webpage:
Consent Culture: https://www.antiviolenceproject.org/consent-training/
Supporting a Survivor:https://www.antiviolenceproject.org/support-training/