Consent Committee Hosts Educational Programming

Courtesy+of+Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

The Consent Committee, a group of students and faculty with the goal of establishing education surrounding consent, has recently implemented programming for this week’s Devotions, Assembly, and Meeting for Worship. 

Faculty Advisor to the club and Drama Department Chair Donna Romero says that the club’s goals are to “[educate] ourselves and [plan] how to broaden consent ed throughout all three divisions.” 

Lucy Kelley ‘22 adds that the committee is working to get curriculum changed and added, through a “close partnership with middle school faculty to discuss problems we have noticed, a lot of which stemmed from middle school.” PE Teacher Jessica Yemm has been working to improve education around healthy relationships with the Lower School as well. 

The group is also “creating a master doc of school policy, professional development, and educational resources for the school to use to improve,” notes Elena Milliken ‘22. 

Donna explains that “it really comes down to respect between human beings” and understanding personal boundaries, as opposed to being solely about sex. She is particularly concerned about consent being largely ignored in media portrayals, and believes that “we need to reframe the narrative.” 

Elena also emphasizes consent’s importance in human interactions, adding that it “creates stronger relationships and protects everyone.” Especially after noticing the shared harassment and assault stories on the recent Instagram page, @womenatfss, she believes that the work of the committee is particularly topical. 

“I have had experiences where my consent wasn’t taken into consideration, and I know that it’s hard for a lot of women to have the courage to speak out against the things for which have happened to them. I just think it’s important to teach people from a young age that consent isn’t just sexual… [it includes] things like asking for hugs, requesting help, and eating other people’s food,” says Lucy. 

She believes stronger education around the topic would decrease the incidents of harassment and assault. “It’s very important for the people who identify as men within our community to be able to look at what is happening and recognize when someone isn’t giving consent,” she adds. Lucy hopes that the programming broadens people’s understanding of consent beyond sex, helps women feel safe speaking up, and pushes others to defend those who are not able to stand up for themselves. 

“Everyone is capable of doing better. I don’t want to think people go out into the world with ill intent, but sometimes, their impact is different than their intentions,” Lucy concludes.