Dine and develop event educates about consent

Rosanna Cravens, Lamp staff

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Inside the Old City Mall in busy downtown Springfield, the bleak corridor is artificially quiet. When the double glass doors close, a shout outside is muted and the blare of a horn abruptly ends.

Upstairs, tattered carpet lines the hall. Doors on the left bear signs stating progress is being made within. To the right are colorful waiting rooms with, by all appearances, second-hand furniture.

The work in this part of the building is not glamorous. Social service work rarely is. Though the job being done here at Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault can take the dedicated employees down dark paths, these men and women give life to the dusty, old building and light the way for the survivors they guide.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and Clare Frachey educates students and arms them with the definition of consent.

Consent was defined as giving permission verbally and actively. A person sleeping, drugged or coerced cannot give consent.

One in five women in the U.S. have been sexually assaulted. One in three have globally. These drastic numbers reflect what Frachey and others call a “rape culture,” meaning an environment in which rape is normalized and pervasive.

This is the first year LLCC has held such a workshop. Jacob Deters, student engagement coordinator, and Shelby Bedford, compliance and prevention coordinator, teamed up to add the workshop to their Dine and Develop series.

“LLCC’s Compliance and Prevention office has been great in providing educational opportunities like this for our students and (the) Student Life office is proud to support these efforts,” Deters says.

The workshop delves into unexpected realms, such as the ‘man box’— the image men have been raised to uphold. The toxic idea that men should not cry, should not express themselves and doing either makes them less of a man – the ‘man box’ is a mold into which men have been shoved by society.

“Being vulnerable is one of the strongest things you can be,” Frachey said.

“I think our students had the wonderful opportunity to learn that prevention of sexual assault starts with all of us understanding consent and respecting every person,” Deters says. “I would love to see this continue as well as other topics around consent, preventing sexual violence and bystander intervention.”

Frachey poses the question,“When we don’t know what consent is, how do we know rape?”

Rosanna Cravens can be reached at [email protected]