College is an exciting time for most students; it's a new era of self-exploration and discovery as young adults around the world set off to pursue higher education. Although it was only less than a year ago, I can still remember the thrill of being away from home and starting these new adventures. When I think of my freshman year, I think of late-night study sessions, inside jokes with close friends, and an entire lifetime of memories to tell my children someday. I'm a firm believer that everyone should ride the full college experience at least once. Yet, as instrumental as these academics are, there is a dark, underlining terror to university life that we need to discuss.
We need to talk about the alarming number of sexual assaults happening on college campuses across the nation.
I recently gave a presentation to a sorority at my university, and when asked if anyone personally knew of someone who had been sexually assaulted, more than half of the chapter raised their hand. College rape is no longer a faraway myth told by over-anxious parents; it's a harsh reality that many have faced. It's a trauma that no one should have to endure. In an effort to end sexual assault on campus, Project Consent is launching our new fall campaign that will seek to raise awareness and support those who have been affected.
Starting October of 2016, Project Consent is kickstarting our Change Our Campuses campaign. We will be promoting new content that addresses sexual assault on campus.
If you also believe consent is simple, then consider picking up our merchandise to promote that message. Put a sticker on your laptop or water bottle, hang a poster on your dorm wall, or rock a tote bag defining consent for the unaware public. Whatever you decide, you'll take an active part in eliminating the toxic presence of rape culture on your college campus.
College shouldn't be a place to walk home with pepper spray firmly gripped in your hand. It shouldn't be a place where you don't feel safe putting your cup down for two minutes while you go the bathroom at a party. College is an experience worth remembering for decades afterward — and sexual assault should never be a part of those memories.
by Sara Li, founder and executive director