Solidarity circle: Discussing sexual assault and proper consent

Heydi Ortiz

On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, hidden from the storm’s downpour, a group of students gathered to talk about sexual assault and what to do now that Brett Kavanaugh is an associate justice on the Supreme Court.

“The truth is my dear, you are a movement, you are everything they are afraid of because you are worthy of being loved. You are enough to make them cowards. You possess an amazing power,”  Tionna Seabrook, a sociology major, said in a poem about sexual assault.

Students for a Democratic Society held a solidarity circle on Wednesday, Oct. 10, to welcome those into a space where others could talk freely about thoughts opinions and experiences revolving around consent and sexual assault.

UNF Alum Christina Kittle works with Coalition for Consent and spoke at the event. She broke down the different forms of consent. She stressed the importance of informed, freely given, specific, on-going and enthusiastic consent to provide a better understanding of what is acceptable before deciding to move further in a sexual act.

“With everything going on with Brett Kavanaugh they were saying that we should make a solidarity circle for survivors of sexual assault and we should talk about these things and I immediately thought SDS,” Monica Martinez, a first year nursing major, said.

It was Martinez who suggested that SDS hold the event.

“40 percent of sexual assault cases are reported, only 7 percent of the abusers are prosecuted and 2 percent of sexual assault cases are proven to be false,” Kittle said. She went on to say that sexual assault is not taken seriously because often times it is not looked at as a violent crime.

“ I think that hearing more stories makes it easier for people to want to speak up about their experiences with sexual assault,” Freshman Katie Graham said. “It’s very hard to be alone in those situations so with the #Metoo movement and the Kavanaugh hearing I feel like people are starting to realize that they aren’t alone.”

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