As a response to recent #MeToo sexual assault allegations in the media, the Black Graduate Student Association hosted a forum in Russell House to educate students on gaining and giving consent, show the media's role in how sex is viewed and promote healthy sexual relationships.
Ashton Hammond, a member of the BGSA, spoke on the forum about the concept of consent. His goal in speaking was to “make sure that people get a good understanding and just have a grasp on what a safe sexual relationship is.”
The timing of the forum — on the day before Valentine’s Day — was intentional, Hammond said.
The forum also stressed the importance of knowing about the resources on campus that students can take advantage of should they have any questions or concerns about any kind of relationships.
Don Francis, an alumnus of USC and former member of the BGSA, attended the forum as an audience member.
“Unfortunately, I’ve seen where, even here at USC, we don’t have that healthy sexual conduct competency,” Francis said. “There are a lot of things we don’t understand.”
In attending the forum, some of the biggest takeaways for Francis was understanding how others view healthy sexual relationships and the different aspects that go into a healthy sexual relationship.
A list of resources that students at USC can take advantage of was provided at the forum with contact information. Among the list was the USC Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention and Prevention department of Student Health Services, which is a confidential resource where students can speak with someone about interpersonal violence or support a friend.
With the forum in the Russell House Student Union, the setting of a college campus played a large role in the discussion.
“I only wish that there were more people in the room, or more people more frequently having conversations like this,” Francis said. “Especially on a college campus, talking about a hotbed of sexually active people who really need to know the ins and outs of sexual interaction.”
With the continuous stream of sexual allegations in the media, including the “#MeToo” movement, this forum brought light to these issues and gave attendees the chance to participate in an open discussion to gain more insight into understanding consent and healthy sexual relationships.
“It’s happening all across campuses, all across the country, all across the world,” Hammond said. “The fact that it is happening so much, that is kind of another one of the reasons we wanted to put out the resources that people can go to.”