I’ve been following the wit and wisdom of local pundit, John Gray for so many decades it feels as if, even without ever having met each other, we’ve grown wiser together, changing some of our viewpoints as life’s lessons shaped our opinion and insights. Reading his Applause column today, I noted how in just a few sentences he takes a timely news story and thinks about how people are affected by it. In this case he’s discussing (and for the most part supporting) Governor Cuomo’s ‘Enough is Enough’ response to campus sexual assault. Gray’s big worry was that in the heat of the moment (and may be with a bit of alcohol as a disinhibitor) young people wouldn’t realize the importance of affirmative consent… and the consequences that can result by just assuming consent.
It’s a good point. It’s important that we have these conversations with our young people. Campuses are taking this responsibility very seriously; Skidmore and Wellspring are working very collaboratively and proactively to have increased prevention and awareness programs and on-campus access to a Wellspring advocate. But the responsibility doesn’t reside solely with colleges.
Parents need to talk with their sons and daughters about sexual assault and about consent. Wondering how to start that conversation. Maybe we can help; here’s two ways Wellspring can help you start the conversation:
- Wellspring has a an interactive awareness program Rape or Regret. It’s a video of a trial for a common date rape scenario (a party with underage drinking). Our staff present the video and facilitate a discussion session. We’ve had parents and teens watch it together. A mother commented months after attending a viewing that she’d always wondered how to start that difficult conversation with her daughters. After they attended the program “the conversation just started… It opened the lines of communication, and now my daughters’ friends also talk comfortably with me about these issues.” We can bring this presentation to your community group. It’s free, enlightening, and interactive.
- Need a quick and easy conversation starter? Here’s a two minute video Wellspring developed about consent.
So Mr. Gray. You are so right; it’s important we educate our youth about consent. And in response to your observation, “I think we are a short drive from a time when students will sign contracts before getting undressed. I’m sure there’s already an app for that.” There is indeed an app for that; it’s called Are We Good 2 Go?