Red Bed Talks event hopes to get students talking about consent
Credit: JEN DOEDE
Kate Morris, the Student Life Co-ordinator for the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU), holding up some of the speech bubbles that will be available to students at the Red Bed Talks event.
The event will feature a bed with red sheets that will act as a conversation starter, generating discussion surrounding the topic of consent.
According to Leah Marshall, Fanshawe’s sexual violence prevention advisor, the sexual awareness fair is an annual event where the College brings in their community and campus partners to provide students with information of what is available both on campus and off campus when it comes to sexual health.
The fair is also an opportunity for students to ask questions regarding consent messaging, safe sexual practices and sexual violence prevention on campus.
“The sexual awareness fair is a safe space to ask questions. When you come to college, you might have a lot of questions you didn’t have before you got here,” Marshall said. “No matter what kind of sexual practices you are or are not participating in, taking care of your sexual health is an important part of taking care of your overall health and so we want to make sure that students have that information available to them.”
A conversation piece that plans to attract the attention of students will be a bed with red sheets.
The premise of the bed is to get students talking about the topic of consent, especially when it comes to the bedroom.
“I thought that the Red Bed Talks event would be a great way to make students feel more comfortable when talking about consent,” Kate Morris, the Student Life Co-ordinator for the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) said.
Morris explained that the bed also doubles as a photo prop and students are encouraged to take photos with some speech bubbles with sayings such as “Let’s get consensual” and “Ask me what I want”. Students can also use the hashtag #redbedtalks to tag photos from the event and start a conversation on social media regarding consent that can continue throughout the year.
“It is crucial that students get confident and familiar with the difference between consensual and non-consensual sex, as that is the only difference between sex and sexual assault,” Morris said.
Morris said she got the idea for the conversation piece from a friend whose school set up a bedroom set in their student centre to start a conversation with students about the topic of consent.
This year’s sexual awareness fair will take place in Forwell Hall on Thursday Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Marshall explained that some of the services that will be present at the fair include the Fowler Kennedy Health Services/Sport Medicine Clinic and security services from campus. In regards to off campus options, some of the services will revolve around the London Abused Women’s Centre and Spot of Delight (a safe and inclusive sex shop from downtown London). Representatives from the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program at St. Joe’s Hospital will also be on hand.
According to Marshall, the fair will also be handing out free sexual health products such as condoms and dental dams. In addition, the Middlesex-London Health Unit will also be present at the event and the health unit will provide students with information regarding where they can be tested for sexually transmitted infections.
The sexual awareness fair will also have a special Snapchat geofilter just for the event and the student life facilitator will also be serving mocktails.
“It’s always good to get students talking about consent right at the beginning of the school year.” Morris said. “You have the right to say no just as much as you have the right to say yes.”