Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and Men About Change discuss the importance of consent


"CONSENT: Just ask" was hosted by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and Men About Change April 11 in honor of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

The two organizations facilitated an interactive lecture and conversation on the importance of consent through lecture, activity and a game of true or false with sexual assault facts in the Bovee University Center.

Men About Change is a multicultural organization that focuses on personal development and community outreach.

Those in attendance were split into groups and were able to discuss what consent means to them. Scenarios included couples with a history of intimate contact as well as possible romantic partners using manipulation to coerce the other into giving in.

Jazmine Banks, sophomore at CMU, attended the event because she has been a victim of sexual assault herself and wanted to see what was being done to educate others.

"It was definitely a learning experience," Banks said. "We need to push people to be educated on this subject a little more."

The groups were facilitated by members of Men About Change and Zeta Phi Beta. Participants were able to used colored notecards to describe the level of consent given in the scenarios read by the facilitators.

Graduate Assistant Rebecca Detroyer of the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity spoke as a guest. Representatives from SAPA were also present to help those who may have been impacted by the content in the lecture.

Detroyer noted resources available in the community and on campus. She also addressed the meaning of consent and debunked misconceptions of what consent can be mistaken by.

"I'm very passionate about increasing awareness about sexual assault, domestic violence and sexual harassment," Detroyer said. "My biggest piece of advice is to do what feels safe to you."

A game of true and false also helped clarify statistics concerning sexual assault and how sexual assault can impact all genders. Attendees were taught 19 percent of women go through some form of sexual assault or harassment during their college years and male students are not exempt from these harmful behaviors.

Bags were given to attendees with information on how to report sexual assault. The bags also included a flag with the #ConsentIsCentral logo, a sticker, pen and earbuds.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. member Sarah Hall said these issues plague every community and learning about consent is essential to help prevent sexual assault.

"We thought it was an important topic to talk about," Hall said. "We are hoping (students) learn some facts about sexual assault and understand that it can happen to anybody. You should have consent during any interaction or sexual encounter."