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collins_thumbBy Jaime Collins, Director of Marketing and Communications

It’s been buzzing through social media like an angry hornet. News about recent sexual assaults and their clueless, sexist, misogynistic, violent, and criminal perpetrators is everywhere. And it’s shocking.

But our goal should not be to make Facebook explode or to astonish people by detailing the damages and injustices that occur from sexual violence. The goal is to stop it. Before it begins.

When it comes to consenting to sex, everything but a clear “yes” means no.

Seems simple. Yet, sexual assaults remain all too real and troubling problem in the United States. Sexual violence can happen to anyone, from infants to the elderly. Most victims are female but not exclusively. One in four women and one in eight men will be sexually assaulted during their lifetimes. Despite these shocking numbers, very few victims (one in 10) ever report these crimes to police.

The people responsible for the violence are most often male and usually (85% of the time) someone known to the victim.

Society is waking up to address sexual violence more openly, assertively, and effectively. Through programs to support survivors, such as Southwest Health’s SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) program, victims are getting more help and support. And new programs are beginning to educate people across our society.

KnowNo is one of them. An awareness campaign created to clear up any gray area, the video and website make it all glaringly simple. The short video shows a riveting street performance that delivers a simple message to men, women, parents, educators, lawmakers, and especially to victims. It eviscerates any fuzzy lines around sexual consent to replace them with one bold, undeniably clear boundary. The video includes music from Lady Gaga and Diane Warren and speaks especially well to college students. And it beckons its audience to visit a simple website where a straightforward quiz helps confirm what constitutes sexual assault. The quiz questions are:

  1. If someone is intoxicated, are they able to give consent?
  2. Does wearing provocative clothing count as consent?
  3. If someone initially consents to sex but wants to stop during the act, is that still consent?
  4. If someone is overtly flirty, is that consent?
  5. If someone says “no” but doesn’t physically resist, is that consent.
  6. If someone does not specifically tell you “no”, is that consent?
  7. If someone consents to sex on one occasion, is that consent for any later occasions?
  8. If someone gives consent when sober, but ends up being intoxicated at the time of sex, is that still consent?

The only correct answer to all eight questions is an emphatic “no.” In other words, when it comes to sex, everything but a “yes” is a no.

To learn more about the SANE program at Southwest Health visitsouthwesthealth.org/NoMeansNo.

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