Students remove their clothing to raise awareness about sexual violence


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Students demonstrate near The Arch on Wednesday to raise awareness about sexual assault as part of an event titled “Consent is Not an Outfit.” Students demonstrated by wearing varying amounts of clothing outside of Norris and Tech as well.

Some students wore T-shirts and shorts. Other students were in revealing outfits. Some were only in their underwear.

About 15 student activists participated in a demonstration Wednesday in varying states of clothing. Some students were only in underwear with tape over their nipples. The demonstrations took place near Norris University Center, The Arch and Technological Institute.

The demonstration was held in an effort to increase awareness about the importance of consent and to continue activism efforts around the issue of sexual assault. During the two-hour demonstration, students stood with signs that read “consent is not an outfit.”

Students also went inside Norris, Kresge Hall and University Library and walked around campus to further spread their message.

Weinberg junior Jazz Stephens, who helped plan the demonstration, said it was held in an effort to begin conversations about the importance of consent.

“It’s supposed to be to raise awareness around the fact that I guess there tends to be a lot of conversation around campus about somebody deserving it, in less strong language usually, but deserving it because they were passed out or had drank too much, so that was kind of the rationale behind this,” she said.

Stephens said overall, the event was a success.

“I think it’s just something to start conversation, talking about why is it that in certain contexts we feel that the level of consent needed is lower,” she said. “I think that seeing something in a different context could be awareness raising.”

She said the group received positive responses from the majority of passersby, noting the most interesting feedback came from Yik Yak, an anonymous social media application. Posts ranged from support for the demonstrators to mocking their efforts.

Students involved added that after last quarter’s activism, they wanted to plan more initiatives to continue spreading awareness about sexual assault.

Bienen sophomore Jacqueline Ovalle took part in the demonstration after receiving the invitation on Facebook. She said she felt this was an important issue to discuss and participated to increase conversation on the topic.

“I go to parties, I see things going on, I have friends, things have happened and things have happened in other schools where they try to cover it up,” she said. “This conversation needs to keep on going.”

She added that the visual nature of the event contributed to its success.

“I definitely support visual art and art that is more like an embodiment rather than just something you see on the wall, because this is really like in your face kind of and I think that’s also needed on this campus a little bit,” she said.

Weinberg freshman Isabel Sturla said the purpose of the event was to emphasize everyone should be respected no matter what they wear.

“The way that somebody dresses is their completely personal decision, and it really does not mean that they want something, whatever that means,” she said. “Consent is something that is really necessary and really important and is so much more complicated than something as simple as what you wear.”

Weinberg junior Kayleen McMonigal, who also took part in the demonstration, said she had participated in a similar event before called Slut Walk. She said the event held today encouraged continued conversation about important campus issues.

“I think it’s just important to (discuss these problems) so people don’t forget about these issues, because everyone gets all angry about the lawsuit and stuff and then a couple weeks later, it’s out,” she said. “Things get forgotten about so just keeping the conversation going and making sure that people know things are happening.”

Ciara McCarthy contributed reporting.

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