In an effort to cultivate awareness about sexual consent during the month of April – Sexual Assault Awareness Month – Dove House Advocacy Services is collaborating with other organizations to …
In an effort to cultivate awareness about sexual consent during the month of April – Sexual Assault Awareness Month – Dove House Advocacy Services is collaborating with other organizations to lead a campaign called “Art for Consent.”
Throughout the month, the community is invited to create chalk art on driveways or in designated areas to help start a conversation about sexual assault and consent, and show support for survivors. Those participating are also invited to share their art on social media.
“I think the first goal is to bring awareness and just have the conversation,” said Teresa Shiraishi of Dove House. “Creating those conversations is a really important part of that change.”
Words in all languages, symbols and pictures are encouraged, said Shiraishi. Phrases to write could include: “radical consent,” “enthusiastic yes!” “believe survivors” and “change the culture.”
Two organized art-creating events at the Food Co-op and The Boiler Room on April 16 and 21, respectively, is to be attended by Dove House representatives, who will create a safe space for conversation and also talk about issues surrounding sexual assault and consent.
“Consent is more than the absence of 'no,'” Shiraishi explained. “It is the presence of an enthusiastic 'yes.'”
“Consent is about respecting others' boundaries, having autonomy over our own bodies, and having the safety and freedom to communicate our boundaries and desires without coercion.”
It's also about cultivating intimacy and healthy relationships, she said.
To further the community dialogue and shift the culture of Jefferson County to one that deeply values consent and supports survivors of sexual assault, Dove House is also partnering with the Mandala Center for Change to host “Radical Consent: Intimacy, Boundaries and Sex” on Monday, April 17. The free event is set for 7 p.m. at the Cotton Building, 607 Water St.
The interactive theater performance and community dialogue featuring the Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble offers a space for the community to share personal stories, struggles and experiences, which are then brought to life by the actors through physical imagery and improvisation to honor and reflect what is shared.
“As a man, I think this event is important for all men, even the well-intentioned, to raise our consciousness,” said Marc Weinblatt, founder of the Mandala Center and Poetic Justice.
“It can be humbling to hear how much our social programming has impact and can hurt, even the ones we love.”
Dove House is a provider of emergency shelter, advocacy and therapy services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Dove House is also is a crime victim service center in Jefferson County.