From Olivia Montgomery (CEO):
I became a full-time volunteer at Project Consent in the spring of 2015. Less than two months prior, I had lost my father. At the time, I felt alone, confused, and was grasping to find any sort of light I could hold onto. I believe that I was searching desperately for a purpose in this world, for something to save me from my grief. That’s when Sara came to me. We had been friends for years prior, so I knew a lot about PC. I had even submitted a photograph of me holding a sign that said “NO” to the Tumblr page it had started as. But this was different. This was Project Consent as a legitimate organization... and so I said yes. Looking back, we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. I was barely twenty at the time and everything I did was from trial and error... and endless amounts of Google searches. Here’s what made us different though: we had the fight and the unwavering optimism to make this work. I think the kids we all were five years ago would be baffled, but not surprised, with how far Project Consent has come.
We’ve won awards, we’ve been part of movements, we’ve amassed a large community of survivors and allies. We’ve shared artwork and poetry, we’ve given a voice to those that feel like they wouldn’t have one, and we’ve made a difference.
When Sara and I first discussed closing Project Consent, we were terrified. We knew it was inevitable as we were graduating from college and had to find jobs in our respective fields, but we were scared. Then we realized something. When Project Consent first started, there were only small murmurs of consent and rape culture. It was on the tip of everybody’s tongue, but nobody was willing to entirely say it. Now look at our world… we've seen important movements and other incredible organizations come forward and discuss the matter with us. Now it is time for everybody else to do grassroots work because the discussion is there. We need people bringing consent into their own communities and teaching others around them. It is up to those in the communities to make the difference with the resources they have...and therefore we feel no longer fully needed. We did what we came to do, and we are SO PROUD of it. It is quite poetic, isn’t it?
Thank you for letting me lead Project Consent the past year. Thank you for letting me help so many of you. Thank you for opening your hearts and minds to this organization, and for supporting us with all you had. Thank you to the friends I’ve made for life through PC, and thank you to the staff and interns we’ve had over the years. I’ve learned so much from all of you, and I am forever grateful for your work. And thank you to Sara, because you gave me this opportunity that has changed my life. Project Consent gave me a purpose, and it gave me the opportunity to help so many others heal their pain, while simultaneously healing my own.
This is not a goodbye, and it never will be. Project Consent will be here forever, we promise that.
Here are a few more testimonials from our staff on
what Project Consent meant to them:
MacKenzie Cakebread, Social Media Director: When I first joined Project Consent as an intern, I was petrified. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew that it was work that I was meant to do. In the years I was with the organization, I learned more about myself and the world around me than I could have possibly imagined. My strength, my determination, and my successes were shared by the people I worked with as well as those who shared their stories with us over social media every day. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to engage with the worldwide community as Project Consent's Social Media Manager, as everyday was a new experience that lead to us growing as an organization. Project Consent began as an organization that sought to open discussion on sexual assault and consent, a task that seemed impossible at the time I joined the staff. Now, four years on, I have watched the world open their eyes to sexual assault, harassment, and the importance of consent through the #MeToo movement, Time's Up, and other global efforts to eradicate rape culture. But I will never forget that Project Consent has been starting these conversations since 2014. Thank you for letting me be a part of this history.
Olivia Yusuf, Editorial Director: When I first applied to Project Consent in 2016, I was a fresh graduate that felt lost and this organization made me feel like I had a purpose in life, and helped give me the confidence to put myself out there. Three years later, I still remember the moment when I received an email saying that I was accepted to be a writer and when Sara messaged me that very same day asking if I wanted to join the executive team to lead editorial and then later on - to be the community director. I could never thank Sara and Liv enough for entrusting me with this responsibility and the opportunity to be part of this amazing team. One of my proudest accomplishments was working with the team to create the middle school curriculum and seeing it go live. The greatest part of my role was seeing submissions come in and knowing that contributors from around the world trusted us with their stories. I don't think I ever put into words just what Project Consent means to me nor could I do justice just what this team has given me. Before joining, I knew I wanted to be involved in the fight against sexual assault and rape culture because I knew just how much it affected an individual. Project Consent gave me the platform to create content that needed to be shared and to be part of the change. These roles gave me a chance to expand my skill set professionally but more than that, Project Consent gave me a family, a place where I could trust everyone and know that they would always be there for me through the good and the bad. I will never forget my time with #teamPC and I will be forever grateful for each and every person that has been involved with PC along the way.
Taylor Mabelitini, Design Director: I joined Project Consent in October of 2017, and to date, it is one of the best emails that has ever landed in my inbox. My time at Project Consent was an experience that offered me so much growth, healing, and more than anything, empowerment; I couldn't change what happened to me, but what I could do was help support other survivors by giving them resources, and giving them a voice. To be able to help others with their healing gave me healing of my own ten times over in return. Project Consent did what it was created to do—make space and community for survivors of sexual assault, and give them agency, support, and empathy—and I am forever grateful to have had a small part in it. I can't wait to see what comes of the seeds Project Consent has sown in how we talk about assault, and how we talk about survivors, and how we talk about healing. Thank you to Sara, and to Liv, and to the amazing executive team I was lucky to be part of. To my wonderful, talented, extraordinary design team: none of what I did at PC could have been done without you. This might be goodbye to Project Consent, but it's certainly not forever. #TeamPC will always have so much of my love.
Ciaran Quian, Outreach Director: I fell in love with Project Consent when I first saw the Consent is Simple Campaign. I was honored that I had the chance to work for Project Consent. As a survivor myself, it felt like I had a healthy way to channel my pain into something productive that could help other people. For the past year/year and half that I have been with Project Consent, I have found a great community for survivors. I am incredibly sad that Project Consent is shutting down, but I am so proud of every single person who has worked for Project Consent, together we have accomplished so much. I am honored to have been a part of it. I will never stop pursuing my passion for helping other survivors and spreading consent awareness because there is still so much more to do.
Sophia Davirro, Graphic Designer: I feel so incredibly thankful to have worked with Project Consent––being a part of this organization that has changed so many lives fills me with a special kind of joy and gratitude that I know I will carry with me moving forward. PC has taught me so many valuable lessons, including the responsibilities I as an ally have to survivors of sexual assault, the importance of giving space to survivors, and the ways in which rape culture has impacted my own life. I remember scrolling through my feed years ago when I discovered PC, and being struck by the accessibility of their message, bringing the conversation on consent into my life when it was so rarely talked about at the time. These discussions remain so important and moving forward, I am able to continue spreading these messages with the tools and knowledge Project Consent has given me. Thank you to Sara, Liv, and the rest of the wonderful team at PC for being such a supportive, hardworking, and compassionate group of individuals who have made this experience all the more rewarding.
Kennedy Stevens, Social Media Coordinator: Working with Project Consent has given me purpose. It has allowed me to channel my energy and emotions toward the epidemic of sexual assault in a productive way, as I feel the organization has done for so many. Knowing that our small team had the ability to reach such a large audience, educate them, and positively impact their attitudes and behaviours has been an incredibly empowering experience. Sharing stories from survivors, paying homage to acclaimed advocates for the cause and hearing directly from our audience as to how our messages helped them through the most difficult experiences imaginable has only fueled my passion further. As a supporter and a contributor, I am sad that Project Consent as we know it will no longer exist. However, I know that each and every one of us who were impacted by PC's work will never cease to fight for this cause, and will carry our fervor into everything that we do to make change. Working with the staff and our partners, and engaging with our audience has given me hope that things will get better for all of us. No matter the amount of hatred and violence that exists in the world, I know there are people who will stand up for what is right. Project Consent will always be with me, and with all of us.
Miranda Martin, Social Media Coordinator: Though I loved giving to Project Consent, PC has given me even more. Project Consent will always mean so much to me because it was a space where people could come together and feel safe. It gave a huge sense of community, and was a place where anyone could find others who went through something similar and find comfort in that. More than just community, Project Consent was a place that gave me so much hope for the future. Through educating others about the reality of sexual assault and what consent means we created a better future, one person at a time. I will always miss my time at Project Consent, but I know that we touched so many people and that means the world to me.
Rachel Futterman, Graphic Designer: I'll never forget when I first discovered Project Consent – it was the summer of 2017, a time in my life when I was desperate to know that I was not alone in experiencing a toxic culture of sexual assault. I felt like I could not put my pain into words. I came across the Project Consent Instagram and instantly felt so empowered by the messaging and education they were putting out into the world. After almost a year of keeping up with every picture, post, and quote, I finally applied to be a Graphic Designer, and when hired, felt like for the first time I had somehow regained my voice. Project Consent became so much more than just my favorite Instagram page – it became a community to me, a home, a place where people just like me were finding the courage to speak up against the injustices they had experienced. Though I will miss Project Consent being an active organization, I feel at peace; I know our organization has helped so many, and I see everyday how mainstream consent education has become. Thank you for changing my life, Project Consent; just thank you.
Skylar Steinhart, Social Media Coordinator: I stumbled upon Project Consent’s Instagram account about a year and a half ago. I remember spending over an hour scrolling through all of the pictures, reading the captions, and feeling empowered by the feminism and activism for survivors. I never imagined I would become a part of such a special team. I read about the open positions and I hesitated. I didn’t think I was qualified, I was just a 21-year-old college student and this organization was bigger than anything I ever imagined. I didn’t know much about activism or where to begin, I just knew that I wanted to make a difference. With some encouragement from my friends, I decided to apply. After joining Project Consent I was immediately welcomed with open arms. I was given an outpouring of love & support from the other staff members. I felt welcomed, heard, and like I mattered. My voice mattered. My rights mattered. My story mattered. Working for Project Consent was an opportunity like no other. As a team we grew together, laughed together and healed together. Project Consent gave me and hundreds of other survivors a safe space to grow, heal, and be heard. I learned so much about myself as an activist and a survivor. Reading other survivor’s stories and seeing their journey to justice and healing was a humbling experience. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you Project Consent. Thank you for helping me learn, grow, and heal. #TeamPCForever
Ally Lowitz, Writer: Project Consent has meant so much to me and was the first time I used my passion for advocacy in a formal sense. It was amazing to be part of an organization led by young women, and I believe the skills and connections I made will follow me for a lifetime. I am so honored to have been a part of Project Consent and so proud of the work we have done. Thank you so much!