Getting to Yes: Hegemonic masculinity and sexual Consent

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Matheson, Geoff
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"It is plainly obvious that a discussion about sexual consent is necessary. In Halifax, after the events of September, 2013 at Saint Mary’s University, sexual consent became a prominent topic on my news feed on Facebook. I attended a public rally to “end rape culture” held on the Saint Mary’s University grounds, near the student union building for symbolic emphasis. I listened to several speakers share impassioned talks, rants, poems, and chants. I saw several familiar faces in the crowd, some former professors of mine, some fellow students, and some other figures who I have seen in the local activist circle – of which I do not consider myself to be a part of. I usually do not involve myself in activism, especially not public protests. I do not believe protests to be ineffective at communicating political goals, but they are very easily dismissed by the general public and even by individuals such as myself, who consider themselves to be intellectually engaged with various politics yet feel cynical about public protest as a means of bringing about change. To loosely quote a former professor of mine from my undergraduate degree, “spectacles do not create change, they create spectators.” He was speaking about the Occupy protests of 2011 so I hope I am not taking him too far out of context. He surely did not mean to say public protests are ultimately pointless and unimportant. I believe he may have been talking about how such demonstrations often fail to produce a long lasting public involvement with social change – merely standing on the sidelines and observing is not sufficient to bring about meaningful change. I was left with a similar sort of feeling after the rally. I felt we were simply preaching to the choir; there was clearly nobody present at the rally who dissented with the overall message, and I do not believe a substantial amount of people were drawn to the rally. It felt like a few like-minded individuals getting together to blow off steam, and there was a substantial amount of frustration amongst those of us who spoke. It was a cathartic and positive moment, but catharsis is self-serving. Likewise, writing for a degree as I am doing now is arguably self-serving; I am certainly not sitting here at my keyboard in some smug satisfaction that I know the best way to engage with the debate about sexual consent and how to go about creating a movement that will encourage the elimination of sexual violence."-- Excerpt from introduction
Sexual assault , Rape culture