Lets Talk Consent: Workshop spreading the word of the value of consent


The Office of LGBTQ services held a workshop about consent in the Chippewa room of the Bovee University Center on Oct. 27. It was the final Coming Out month event.

The workshop began with a presenter asking the audience what consent meant to them. A majority of the audience said they didn't know the clear definition of consent at a young age. When responding, most students raised their hands for learning in high school and college.

Owosso sophomore Rachael Nicevski said people often get angry with her for not wanting to be touched.

“They think it’s okay to touch me even if it makes me feel uncomfortable," she said. When I tell them I’m not okay with it they think I’m uptight or mean. This workshop showed me I’m not the only one that hates being touched.”

She said she believes the people just don’t know the deep meaning of the word consent. She hopes the workshop will help her talk to people that she knows and help them understand.

“I think if everyone could have come here it would have been great,” Necevski said. ”It’s educational and teaches us that we are not entitled to touch other people’s bodies.”

Intern Program Coordinators from LGBTQ Services ,Twining sophomore Markie Heideman and Waterford senior Autumn Gairaud, said consent doesn't only apply to sexual partners, but also family and friends.

“It's important to not only have conversations about sexual consent, but conversations about consent all around,” Heideman said. “It helps remind us that we are allowed to have control over our body. We both value the importance of consent and how it does not just mean consent in the bedroom, but for any kind of physical touch such the touch of a shoulder or a hug.”

This is the first time LGBTQ Services has put a consent workshop on to inform people the importance and meaning of consent.

“Having consent is important to have and helps us all feel safe and comfortable,” said Gairaud.

According to the state of Michigan if someone is incapacitated in some way they can’t give you consent. One in four women and one in six men experience sexual assault, according to the Ted Talk video shown at the workshop.

“The first time I learned about consent was during my sexual education class freshman year of high school, and it was rarely touched on," said Grand Valley State University sophomore Hayley Ryan. "We barely spent minutes talking about it. It was just glazed over."