Last night, two Penn State alumni helped kick off the UPUA’s Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention week. Jasmin Enriquez and Mike Friedman’s interactive presentation aimed to ignite a campus culture change by furthering discussion on consent, rape, and sexual assault.
Audience understanding drove the night’s agenda, and the pair took time to help individuals comprehend the concepts presented. All participants left with the knowledge that consent only comes in the form of an enthusiastic “yes!” When defining the differences between sexual assault and rape, Enriquez shed light on an often overlooked aspect of the issue: that “one is not worse or more traumatic than the other.” She said no hierarchy exists between unwanted actions, as “all are traumatic, and all survivors deserve respect towards the courage they have displayed.”
Both presenters took time to explain that every individual reacts to sexual violence incidents differently, and there is no one correct way to respond to an issue. As a result, the helpful tips they provided for victims and supporters ranged from ensuring you ask for consent as explicitly as possible to “if you wouldn’t drive a car, then you should not be having sex.”
“We try to give you tools that you can use in the real world, not the picture-perfect law world,” Friedman said.
The most powerful moment of the night was when Enriquez shared her own story with the crowd. As a Southern California native, Enriquez was far from home at Penn State and found comfort in a boy who “felt like home.” Fearful of getting an underage citation for walking in town after drinking, she spent the night at his fraternity house. She woke up unaware of what had happened the night before, with hazy memories of her friend telling her, “It’s okay, stop making such a big deal out of this.”
Although Enriquez chose not to report the incident to the police, she found comfort in her friend, the past president of the fraternity house where her rape occurred. “If it wasn’t for him standing up for me and believing in me,” Enriquez shared, “I wouldn’t be alive today.”
“You can be that person for someone,” said Enriquez, encouraging the audience to support individuals in any way they need it. For Enriquez, this meant accompanying her on 5 a.m. trips to Walmart when she couldn’t sleep or offering up a futon when she was scared to be alone.
Enriquez made a poignant statement when discussing victim support by saying “[rape and sexual assault]are not PR issues, or about what your org or university will look like — this is about a human being, and the role that you could play in fixing this problem.”
“The more you ask for consent, the easier it will be.” Enriquez told the audience. “We want to create a consent culture.”
To learn more about Enriquez, Friedman, and their organization, you can visit Only Do It With Consent’s website.