AU Live

Just another sexual assault

Bella Pacinelli

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A large room full of talkative young men and women, particularly those of the Greek community, are greeted by an upbeat speaker wearing a floral skirt and knee-high boots.

The words “Just Another Assault” are projected onto the screens behind her head.

Bonny Shade is about to begin the discussion that has affected her life, as well as the lives of many others.

Through For College For Life, she is able to educate college students on the truth of sexual assault.

There is a need for an honest and real conversation. “Men and women come to college, between 18 and 22 years old, not really ever having a conversation about consent,” Shade said.

Her speech begins with a challenge to count the number of F’s in a given sentence.

Students raise their hands with different answers, proving her point that the brain forms shortcuts when it perceives something a certain way. These shortcuts are made when discussing sexual assault and it is important to understand that every experience is different Shade said.

With her humorous narration, she sets up the story of her 2007 fall break. The jokes begin to die down as she describes a drunken encounter with a friend.

The students and faculty fall silent, listening to her story of sexual assault.

“It took me 3,136 days to come to terms with what had happened,” Shade admitted.

She then displays the definition of sexual assault from The United States Department of Justice. Shade realizes there are assumptions made about sexual assault, but encourages the crowd to “challenge the norms.”

Her next slide reads, “Consent is Chipotle.” Confused faces turn to each other and crack a smile. She calls on a student and asks what he orders at Chipotle. People listen and laugh at the specificity, recognizing that they would have answered with similar detail.

“When you go to Chipotle you know exactly what you want,” Shade said, “And if the worker puts sour cream on your burrito without asking, you’re not going to be happy.”

The connection she makes is followed by head nods, laughter and understanding.

Despite the jokes, Shade said, “If you’re old enough to have sex, you’re old enough to talk about it.”

She suggests checking in during sex to be sure that both parties are comfortable with what is happening, using the allegations of Aziz Ansari as an example.

“Real life pop culture reference is a huge piece of some of the things we talk about,” Shade said.

The conversation then shifts to ways in which college students can help prevent sexual assault from happening.

If suspicious behavior takes place at a party, be sure to provide help by “causing a distraction, changing the environment, or taking direct action,” Shade said.

She changes the scope of the conversation to helping someone who has been sexually assaulted. Everyone needs a hero, Shade said, it is important to ask, “how can I support you?”

As her speech comes to a close, she arms the audience with some relevant information on the topic. Shade said that statistically speaking, with regard to Ashland University’s enrollment size, 56 men and 284 women on this campus have been sexually assaulted.

Despite the shocked expressions, Shade pushes on and asks the final question of the evening – “Are you ready to make an impact?”

Clapping and cheering, students provide an appropriate goodbye for Shade.

“It’s sad to think that people here in our community can relate to these things directly and seeing the statistics she put up were kind of surprising,” Cam Ridenour, freshman Business Management major and member of Phi Delta Theta said.

“It’s important for us, as younger kids, to know how we can stop it and know the resources available to us, so that way we can have a safer college experience as we go forward, especially for all of us in a sorority or fraternity,” he said.

Alpha Phi member, freshman History major, Olivia Jacob, found Shade’s speech to be amazing and powerful.

“This is not a subject that you should be shy about because it happens and people need to understand that,” Jacob said.

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