As an ally and someone who has recently been thinking a lot about these issues, I’m really glad that someone is starting this conversation. I think a lot of the posters that appeared around campus today are great and they’ve definitely provoked conversation. But one of the first posters I saw today said “Consent. Just do it.”, and that really rubbed me the wrong way.
I think that any conversation about rape/sexual assault at Haverford needs to be framed in the context of our campus climate (don’t get me wrong, I know you guys realize this too). But I think that there’s a particular type of party/hookup culture here that can be problematic, and especially for people just joining this community, it can take some time to adjust to. I know that when I first got here, I was a confused and somewhat insecure freshman who was unsure what the “status quo” was, and I worried that now that I was in college, I should be expected to be okay with more things and things moving faster. I was uncomfortable just dancing with guys I didn’t know because I didn’t want to give them the wrong impression, because then I would feel bad letting them down if they wanted more. In some sense, I realize how ridiculous this sounds, in another, I definitely don’t think I’m alone. I think that there is an underlying pressure to be more okay with sexual stuff once you get to college, more okay with casual hookups, and more okay with those casual hookups being more than just making out. That’s a pressure I’ve struggled with on and off in my time here.
I don’t know quite how that poster was meant to come across, but it comes across to me like it’s directed at the person who’s being asked to consent, and telling them that they should “just do it” — even if they’re unsure, having doubts, etc. I really doubt that this is how you meant it to come across, but I don’t think my interpretation is a ridiculous one. To me, it sticks out like a sore thumb, and puts even more pressure where your goal should be to lessen it. Therefore, I respectfully request that you take down this particular message — or at least, alter it so that it gets across exactly the point that you want it to, without this ambiguity.