Consent Carnival educates students, spreads sexual assault awareness

Posted on Oct 4 2017 - 8:01am by Kathryn Abernathy

RASA holds the Consent Carnival in the Circle on Tuesday. It featured Twister, giant Jenga and sticky notes for people to write what they think consent means and put it on a poster board. Photo by Marlee Crawford

The Violence Prevention Office and Rebels Against Sexual Assault partnered to hold the annual Consent Carnival on Tuesday in the Lyceum Circle.

Nathan Payne, graduate assistant for the Violence Prevention Office, said he hoped this event would get people talking about consent.

“Consent is something that we navigate daily and is very important to understand,” Payne said. “Some are not always conscious of consent and what that truly means in our lives.”

Event organizers created games and activities as ways to get students not only to talk about what consent means to them but also to get them to understand consent and its policies. 

“We use events like this to press current policies about consent, such as the definition of consent and what qualifies as consent,” Payne said. “Students should be aware and know the reasons and policies behind it.”

RASA uses events like the Consent Carnival and its Sex Week activities to present to students important topics in a lighthearted and fun manner.

Freshman T.J. Bleeker, peer educator in training for RASA, volunteered at the event in hopes of spreading awareness about consent.

“I want to help out my community, and this is an issue we should be addressing,” Bleeker said. “Sexual abuse on college campuses is such a big issue, and it’s becoming more and more prominent.”

The American Civil Liberties Union estimates 95 percent of campus rape goes unreported.

Though some may consider sexual violence a common occurrence on college campuses, Bleeker believes Ole Miss has a bigger problem than usual with the issue.

“Every university has a sexual assault problem, but there has been a sexual assault happening every week since I moved in here,” Bleeker said.

According to the University Police Department Clery Daily Crime Log, six sexual offenses have been reported this year. All offenses were reported as sexual battery, with two reported as having happened at fraternity houses and the rest at on-campus dormitories.

Because of the number of reports, the Violence Prevention Office and RASA made it their goal to provide various awareness events for students.

The Consent Carnival has been a yearly event since 2015, and Payne sees this and other events as proactive for students and the university.