KU aims to raise awareness about consent, sexual assault

Posted at 7:22 PM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 20:23:57-04

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The University of Kansas Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center is releasing a new product designed to raise awareness about consent and sexual assault.

They are giving away Rubik's Cubes dubbed consent cubes. They explain what consent is with simple principles of Communicated, Ongoing, Mutual and Enthusiasm. 

"When you have no power then there's not consent," said Margarita Alely Nunez Arroyo, who is a senior studying dance, creative writing and journalism at the University of Kansas.

Jen Brockman, the director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, said consent has to be communicated out loud. The center served more than 40,000 people in one year, from August 2016 to August 2017.

"Students can very quickly define consent as permission," said Brockman. 

The center's hope is that the cubes will be used and out and about to spark conversations among students about consent that will help to end sexual assault.

The cubes are custom made and an order was sent in last August, though they are available on the heels of the #MeToo movement.

The hashtag flooded social media after Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, asking others to post it as their status if they had been sexually harassed or assaulted. Women have been responding in droves on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Students like the idea but said no one should feel pressure

"It's ok to not come out. For every person who came out there are people in the background who aren't comfortable sharing their story and that's also ok," said Gabrielle Gasser, who is a senior studying mathematics and information technology. 

In Lawrence, the rapes reported to campus police have fallen over the past three years.

Source: University of Kansas Annual Security Report and Fire Safety Report 2016

In 2014, there were 18 rapes reported to University of Kansas Public Safety.

In 2015 and 2016, that number has been 13.

Students said it's not just the victim who is hurt by sexual assault.

"It affects family, partners. It affects in the grand scheme of things, the whole society," said Alely Nunez Arroyo.

The center has hopes the cube will carry the idea of consent wherever it goes, creating natural conversations that will change social norms.