FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, an activist group dedicated to changing modern rape culture came to South Puget Sound Community College to do a consent workshop in May.
During the presentation, the co-founders of FORCE Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato discussed what rape culture and consent are.
FORCE’s website definition of rape culture states, “In a rape culture, people are surrounded with images, language, laws, and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate rape.”
The presenters discussed consent as a rape prevention tool. They said discussion of sexual boundaries and preferences is crucial to having healthy sex and preventing sex without consent.
According to Nagle, FORCE works to promote consent as well as giving voices to survivors of rape. Nagle said, “Dismantling rape is a two-sided approach of giving survivors the space they need to heal and be respected, and promoting consent as a counterculture to rape culture.”
During the presentation, FORCE discussed their past and future work in rape prevention and consent.
The most famous of FORCE’s work so far has been its satirical Victoria’s Secret “Pink Loves Consent” campaign. “Pink Loves Consent” was a false Victoria’s Secret website promoting consent-themed panties.
The consent-themed panties had sayings such as “No Means No,” “Ask First,” and “Lets Talk About Sex” written on them. FORCE’s presenters drew attention to the differences between their underwear that said “No Means No,” and the underwear that Victoria’s Secret sells saying “No Peeking.”
FORCE’s presenters said the underwear Victoria’s Secret sells promotes rape culture.
FORCE has also made temporary monuments to rape survivors and has projected survivors’ stories across the U.S. Capitol Building.
Student Cameron Cumberland said he liked the presentation by FORCE, and found the “Pink Loves Consent” campaign to be interesting.
Student Kayla Perez said she was grateful to FORCE for coming to the college. Perez said, “It’s a necessary and thoughtful conversation our campus needs to have.”
Perez said she appreciated the “Pink Loves Consent” campaign as well. “It drew importance to the idea that ‘no’ is a word that needs to be used when setting boundaries, not when being coy. That’s when people learn not to take it seriously.”
There was an art activity and photoshoot during the workshop.
The art activity consisted of students making consent-themed shirts. Students used stencils to add consent-themed sayings to the shirts.
FORCE photographed students for its “This is Consent” project. Students were given whiteboards to write their personal definition of consent, then they were photographed holding these signs.
The event was organized by South Puget Sound Community College student Rebekah Hutson. She said she organized the event primarily in response to the Ohio Rape Case. Hutson said she decided to bring attention to this problem since it is “swept under the rug a lot.”
Hutson said she had been familiar with the “Pink Loves Consent” campaign and found out FORCE had organized it after contacting the organization.
Hutson said, “We live in a society that teaches women not to get raped, rather than teach people not to rape.”
FORCE has done workshops at other colleges in the past.
Brancato said having people engage in an art project such as making shirts helps people be less fearful of discussing issues such as rape culture.
Brancato said FORCE is currently working on a kickstarter campaign for its upcoming Monument Project. FORCE will be making a giant picnic blanket installation as a monument to survivors of rape and abuse at the national mall this summer, said Brancato.
FORCE website: http://upsettingrapeculture.com