Students, faculty deliberate significance of movement
By Donny T. West
There’s a movement growing that’s changing everything. It started with Weinstein, then Spacey, eventually going so far that it’s shaken up our political system, bringing down big names in every industry.
But something else happened. Regular women who were not actresses or politicians began to speak up about their stories, and society could no longer ignore how rampant sexual assault and misconduct was in our society. The many victims of various forms of abuse of power came together under two words that would come to define the national conversation: me too.
However, not everything is changing. Ample amounts of controversy have come from the concept of affirmative consent. Many now insist that sex without clear and enthusiastic consent is not consensual. PSC philosophy teacher Mike Bailey, in the midst of the national conversation, held an event Wednesday, March 23rd to educate the audience on consent.
Bailey’s event “Consent With Certainty” was attended by many, filling every seat in the classroom. The attendees, male and female alike, opened up to the group with heartfelt recollections of past experiences they felt were relevant to the conversation.
Travis Hajenga, PSC student and former Corsair editor, was impressed with the ability to stay on topic. “It was a good event. I liked the viewpoints from everyone,” said Travis. “It was a good in depth conversation, and instead of skirting around the topic it dove right in.”
Gavin Ollis, another PSC student, also found the event engaging. “It was very informative, and very important, especially nowadays in this area where everyone grows up around abstinence-only sexual education,” said Ollis. “The problem with that is people are still gonna have sex. It’s just a natural part of life, so it’s better to talk about it in an open discussion like this so we know how to do it safely.” Also, Ollis said he learned a lot from the event, including tips for how a healthy relationship would work.
PSC English professor Sara Smith added that she was glad we were talking about this, and sees education and discussion of this topic as important.
Mike Bailey felt drawn to hold this event after the recent allegations against comedian Aziz Ansari came out. “It was clear in other cases with the other celebrities, but I think his really struck a nerve because there’s an allegation there and it’s not a care of assault, but he did make a mistake,” said Bailey. “She clearly wasn’t consenting. She also didn’t clearly say no, but she didn’t clearly say yes. It made me wonder what he could have done, and what others could do. And he could have made sure. That could have prevented this whole thing. I don’t think he’s the kind of person who would willingly assault someone, but you can make a mistake and unwillingly assault someone.”
Also, Bailey said the event exceeded his expectations and he was pleased to see more people come than anticipated. In addition, he added that he believes that overall, the #MeToo Movement has been a success, both for the rich and powerful, and for ordinary victims of sexual harassment and assault. “As I mentioned during the talk, there’s been a cultural shift in which we’re actually listening to and believing the victims instead of automatically blaming them. That’s sort of opened the floodgates, and we have so many people. Due to the positive cultural reaction, more women have felt emboldened to come forward and get a positive reaction and be believed,” said Bailey. He cited Roy Moore’s defeat and the fall of the Weinstein Company as an example of predators, even from the past, being brought down, and their enablers who helped cover up their crimes going down with them.
Finally, Bailey expressed a desire to hold this talk, and future similar events, again in the near future.