Jane Herbert had some clear advice for her daughter in the face on sexism and misogyny: put her “middle fingers up” and call for “no more sexist bullshit.”
On Tuesday night at SUNSCAD (Student Union NSCAD) and the King’s Students’ Union’s Consent Week, she called for her audience to do the same
The Rape and Rape Culture on Campus panel was hosted by Heather Chamberlain, a sex educator at Venus Envy, Anna Dubinski, KSU president, Herbert, founder of the Trust Women Project, and Elise Graham, equity and accessibility officer at the Dalhousie Student Union.
Dubinski said she didn’t know how big of an impact rape culture on campus would have on her own life and her presidency. She described rape culture as an “active force” on campuses but is hopeful for change.
“I don’t think that will happen easily or quickly and I think every single one of us needs to take on the responsibility to eliminate rape culture on our campus.”
She also believes in the power of student government to take action against rape culture on campuses.
“I think that the King’s Students’ Union and all student and all student associations must have a responsibility to educate their membership and encourage discussion safely and genuinely,” Dubinski said. “I think campaigns which can educate students on a personal level and allow for avenues to share experiences and talk about these issues.”
Chamberlain, the first to speak during the panel discussion, said she wants to move past the “black and white mentality” surrounding sexual assault by “talking more about what consent means in ways that aren’t putting people on the spot.”
Chamberlain, along with the other panelists, hopes to encourage “enthusiastic consent” by “giving people vocabulary.”
“Sex shouldn’t ‘just happen,’” said Chamberlain. “Sex should happen because you want it to happen.”
Rose Daltry, a NSCAD student, came to the discussion to hear some “current thoughts on rape culture on our campuses,” a discussion which she believes she hasn’t “been that current about.”
After reading about the frosh week chants at Saint Mary’s University, Daltry said she was “not only pissed off, but outraged.”
“My anger about it makes me not want to participate in these conversations sometimes,” Daltry said. “I don’t want to put energy into it because it feels too large to tackle. There’s still so much crap we have to deal with all the time.”