Sexual and Reproductive Rights Panel discusses consent

Members of the Marshall University community had the opportunity to learn about sexuality and associated rights Tuesday at the Sexual and Reproductive Rights Panel in the Memorial Student Center.

Marshall’s Amnesty International organization hosted the panel.

During the panel, Maggie Stone, Ph.D. and Camille Ramsey spoke about consent, rights and contraceptives. Students had the opportunity to ask questions and share personal experiences.

Stone opened her presentation by saying “I’m here talking to you about consent because some people believe it’s okay not to get it.”

For the rest of her presentation, Stone spoke about the importance of sexual consent.

Stone and the audience came to the conclusion the typical definition is too vague. For example, nonverbal consent can be difficult to identify.

Many factors like intoxication and age can make consent impossible. If there is no consent, then the act can be determined to be assault or rape.

Stone said she believes the next step in promoting sexual consent is moving to affirmative consent. Stone said the absence of saying “no” doesn’t mean consent, saying “yes” does.

West Virginia doesn’t have affirmative consent laws, but many parts of Marshall University do.

Stone introduced the audience to new smart phone apps that encourage sexual consent and asked why it is not considered cool to get consent.

“Why is it not sexy to ask if your partner is okay with what you’re doing?” Stone said. “To me, that is sexy.”

Ramsey spoke about contraception during her presentation and handed out many examples.

“There is no excuse to not choose a contraceptive,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey encouraged the audience to make informed choices about their health and asked them not to assume it wouldn’t happen to them.

After the presentations, vice president of Marshall’s Amnesty International organization Jada Williams shared information about where students can get particulars and help if they need it. Ramsey said she was proud to encourage other students to be safe and know their rights.

Sage Shavers can be contacted at [email protected].