Jaeybee Martinito, News Reporter
One out of five women will experience some form of sexual violence before completing their post-secondary education, a report by the Canadian Federation of Students said.
But Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber Consent Peer Education are taking action to prevent the numbers from going higher.
“It’s so important to recognize that this is a vulnerable population, and we should talk to students formally and informally about these concepts,” said peer educator Monica Perez.
Consent Peer Education (CPE) is a program that provides student-facing events to engage and educate on what consent looks like from all perspectives. Educators facilitated events like the Semi-Nude Paint Night last month, which was a less structured way to talk about the taboo topic.
Models were asked to choose a pose they liked that represented open, confident, and positive to the 14 students that participated.
“I feel like having that space where students can feel comfortable to talk about consent, especially in such a vulnerable situation,” Perez said.
The paint night was a collaboration with Rosie Arulanandam, an artist and Psych Society member from Guelph-Humber. The two programs shared the same mission that night, to combat gender-based violence in the community through gesture painting.
“I hope that the students got from it that the words that you choose matter and they really affect how someone feels after interactions,” Arulanandam said.
Consent plays a huge part in an individual’s experience and she said a bad interaction can alter the views of a person in the future. Arulanandam said having conversations with someone who shares a similar struggle can alleviate some of the stress.
“People are always willing to listen like it’s not as you would think. You are not alone,” she said.
Chelsea Tunn, a Kinesiology student, accompanied by her friends went to the paint night hoping this would be a snowball effect to raise awareness.
“I feel there are too many people who think that they should just take what’s happened to them or what’s being said to them when it’s not okay,” she said.
Painting and learning about comprehensive interactions with her peers were fun for Tunn.
“It definitely hit home for me,” she said, adding the little interactions that count, holding somebody’s hand, touching someone’s back.
“Everything has to be consensual,” Perez said.