Prevention and Education
What is consent?
For consent to be present, it must be knowing and voluntary, with clear permission, by word or action, to engage in sexual activity.
- People may experience the same interaction in different ways. It is the responsibility of each person to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity.
- If clear consent is not provided before engaging in the activity, it may be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction, but clear communication from the outset is encouraged.
- For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied. For example, if someone kisses you, you can kiss them back (if you want to) without the need to explicitly obtain their consent to being kissed back.
- Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity must cease.
- Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.
- Proof of consent or non-consent is not a burden placed on either party involved in an incident. Instead, the burden remains on Goodwin to determine whether its policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.
- Consent in relationships must also be considered in context. When parties consent to BDSM (a combined acronym referring to bondage/discipline, domination/submission, sadism/masochism), or other forms of kink, non-consent may be shown by the use of a safe word. Resistance, force, violence, or even saying “no” may be part of the kink and thus consensual, so Goodwin’s evaluation of communication in kink situations shall be guided by reasonableness, rather than strict adherence to a policy that assumes non-kink relationships as a default.
Consent is NOT possible when a person:
- Doesn’t understand what they’re agreeing to
- Is physically forced
- Is coerced to give it through a physical, emotional, or financial threat
If we assume someone else will help, the result is that no one will.
The 3 D’s:
- Direct: Directly address the perpetrator or ask the victim if they are okay.
- Distract: Get creative to diffuse the situation. Ask a question, invite them to go elsewhere, or point out something interesting nearby.
- Delegate: Get someone else involved. This can be another person present, campus security, an RA, professor, or a member of faculty or staff.
Goodwin University recognizes that awareness and educational efforts are important tools in the prevention of gender-based and sexual harassment. The University engages in the following prevention initiatives:
- The Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation and additional related policies are part of the faculty, staff, and student handbooks.
- The Director of Campus Safety and Security briefs all new students at orientation regarding security procedures at Goodwin University. All students are also made aware of the University’s Emergency Response Instructions, which contains instructions to follow in the event that an emergency occurs. The Emergency Procedure Guide is posted in every classroom as well as in hallways/corridors.
- The Title IX and Equity Coordinator provides information to students at orientation about the Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation and how to file a complaint with the Title IX and Equity Coordinator. New employees are also given written information about sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking when they are hired and during new employee orientation.
- Goodwin University maintains a relationship with several key community partners, including the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence and East Hartford’s Interval House.
- The University observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, and Stalking Awareness Month in January. The University also hosts an annual Fresh Check Day where students and members of the community can connect with emotional and mental health support services.
- Goodwin University sponsors events for members of the community centered on awareness and education of sex and gender equity issues, such as the University’s sponsorship to see the production of the Vagina Monologues in February 2020.
- In the Summer of 2020 Goodwin University’s Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Student commissioned a group of individuals across the Goodwin Community to come together and engage in active prevention efforts against Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, and Dating Violence. This group consists of student, staff, and faculty members from various departments and meets on a bi-weekly basis.
- Brochures and information on sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking are made available in key locations including the counselor’s office, the Office of Student Affairs, and at the Office of the Title IX and Equity Coordinator.
- Emergency phones can be found throughout campus.