Yes means yes and no means no, seems like an easy concept, but apparently not.
Students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have decided to take matters into their own hands concerning rape culture on campus. With an average of five sexual assaults a year on campus, it would appear a campaign is necessary. It consists of six emoji’s showing what consent looks like. The posters are hung around the campus and are light-hearted enough for students to glance at and not feel taken back, but the topic itself is quite serious.
The campaign’s aim is to educate all students, but Janet Mee, director of access and diversity at UBC, said it should really be emphasized on the first year students. The first year students are said to not know the campus as well and are not as prepared, therefore making them more vulnerable to sexual assaults. According to CBC News, from 2009-2013, there was 16 reported rape’s at UBC, which worries experts that people are not filing police reports after being assaulted.
“Consent is more than no means no. It’s maybe means no. It’s I am under the influence of drugs and alcohol means I can’t give consent. It’s I am hesitating in any way means I can’t give consent,” Mee said. The campaign is all about informing students over this concept. With six emoji’s used only one of them shows consent, the other five are showing faces that mean no. This campaign has many plus sides: it’s gender neutral not victimizing just women; emoji’s are something that many students know about (and the message itself). There have been other campaigns made such as the ‘No means no’ campaign which colleges have been changing to ‘Yes’ means ‘yes’. The idea of ‘Yes’ means ‘yes’ is to promote that there are other ways of saying no, but no other way to say ‘Yes’, as Mee said.
In Ontario, consent has actually become part of sexual education curriculum, meaning students in grade five have started learning about sexual consent. Nationwide consent is becoming more and more known, take time to educate yourself and take a stand.