This Fall 2013 semester, SAPAC Men’s activism reimagined their No Shave November for consent campaign. With stronger marketing presence, more events, and better audience adaptation, many believe this has been the organizations best November yet. The month started off with several days of tabling on the Diag, where students received shirts that read “ask about my beard” and signed a pledge stating they believe all sex should be consensual. When asked about their shirts, participants would tell people that they are participating in Men’s Activism’s No Shave November for consent because they believe all sex should be consensual. As the month went on, participants continued to sign up and receive t-shirts.
In collaboration with Force: Upsetting Rape Culture, MA Co-Coord Meghana Kulkarni was a part of a national campaign to draw attention to the importance of consent. On September 17th 2013, it appeared that Playboy had published a guide to a ‘Consensual Good Time’ which highlighted No Shave November for Consent and other universities’ consent-themes programs. However, the real author of the site was Force: Upsetting Rape Culture! This publication became an Internet sensation and led to No Shave November for Consent spreading to Concordia College in Portland as well as University of Georgia-Atlanta.
With this momentum, the Men’s Activism program presented their No Shave November for Consent program at Emory’s RespectCon; a conference for sexual assault prevention coordinators. Additionally, Beardsforconsent.org is currently being developed in order for other universities to access our No Shave November for Consent content. With this larger national audience, we hope that No Shave November for Consent becomes a staple at every university!
On Saturday November 23rd, Men’s Activism held their Beard-off Football tournament. Over 70 students came out to play flag football, including many from fraternal and cultural organizations that SAPACs efforts don’t often reach. Each game’s coin toss was decided by trivia questions which got teams talking about consent and sexual assault, helping to start a conversation and reduce stigmas attached to terms like consent.
On Thursday November 14th, Men’s Activism partnered with the South Asian Awareness Network (SAAN) to put on a screening of the film Superbad. After the movie over 30 people stayed around to talk about how consent was practiced in the film and the impression that it may have left on its viewers.
In addition to their No Shave November efforts, Men’s Activism was also active with their workshop presence. Men’s Activism volunteers provided workshops for various ROTC groups on campus, and their bystander intervention workshop was also approved by the Inter-Fraternal Council to fulfill specific fraternity pledge education requirements. Men’s Activism volunteers provided one of these workshops this term and received positive feedback. The program will continue its workshops in the future as more fraternities become aware of the option. As of right now, 10-15 fraternities have committed to receiving workshops next fall 2014.
With the energetic and diverse perspectives gained from the infusion of new volunteers after volunteer training, we have continued to give workshops to fraternities and the ICC and developed new initiatives. During the last portion of the Winter 2014 semester, the Men's Activism Program collaborated with various organizations to host a number of dialogues which include:
Intersections: A Conversation on Culture and Sexual Assault co-hosted by the South Asian Awareness Network and Breaking Barriers on March 20th, 2014. This event led to a discussion of the similarities and differences of experience in the South Asian American community as well as the Jewish community.
A collaboration titled The Project X for Consent with NPHC fraternities and sororities to discuss the experiences of sexual assault within the black community on April 14th, 2014. Specifically, our dialogue included scenarios which dealt with sexual harassment at parties and the role of a proactive bystander. A more detailed article about this event can be found here.
An event in partnership with SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy) and the SAPAC Peer Education Program to discuss the role of various drugs on sexual interactions and consent on April 16th, 2014. This dialogue proved to be an open and honest forum for members of SAPAC, SSDP and the Michigan community to discuss communication and respect in hook up culture.
In addition to these dialogues, we also held YESMEANSFEST, a concert to raise money for safe house on April 12th. This event was co-hosted by 1in6; an organization committed to raising awareness about the 1 in 6 men who have had some kind of unwanted sexual experience before the age of 18.