Issue 22 • October 2018

Humans of The Tavern

Relationships & Consent

Interview & photograph by 

Abbey Charlamb

“I think we do a pretty good job at [teaching consent]. It’s a team approach involving both the parents and the school. The more ways a student hears and talks about it consent, the more aware people are going to be. [Consent] looks the same no matter what the gender is because everyone has to understand what “no” means. It’s a little bit too soon [after the Kavanaugh trial] to see much of an impact. However, I think people are very upset by the ruling and have fears related to the outcome of that.”

- Tracy Constantino, Brooks School

"Consent is sexy. And we are trying to make students comfortable with this idea. As a co-head of Exonians Against Sexual Assault (EASA), one of my goals is to engage all students in discussions about gender, sexual assault and our school’s culture. In June, my grade, the class of 2019, will be the last class that was on campus when sexual assault allegations surrounding our school were published in the Boston Globe, generating a feeling of unease within our community. This marks a significant change on campus. Next year, the students at Exeter will not be the students who formed EASA in reaction to these allegations and how our school handled them. Instead of continuing to be reactionary, we are transitioning to a community that promotes healthy relationships and healthy sexual encounters. This transition must come from the student body, not just the administration. Conversations, led by upperclassmen, surrounding these topics are being introduced in 9th and 10th grade health classes, and students leaders are wearing ‘Got Consent?’ shirts to our school dances. Attendance at EASA meetings has increased from 10 students last spring to currently around 30, about 40% of whom are male. Change is coming from students-students who believe that yes, consent is sexy.”

- Jane Collins, Phillips Exeter Academy

Interview by Anne Brandes

Photograph by Heather Farrington

Interview & photograph by 

Julia Kendall

“Even though I’ve never been in a situation where I felt like I couldn’t withdraw my consent, I have talked to some friends from home who showed interest in someone and then ended up with them in a car, hooking up or something, and been nervous. While they think they could have asked the person not to hook up at that point, they have felt awkward doing so considering they showed the interest in the first place. Personally, every time anyone has ever shown interest in hooking up with me, I get a series of encouragements from my friends and anyone who hears about it. While I am always comfortable turning the person down if I don’t know them, or am not attracted to them, it can be slightly confusing when many of the people you rely on for advice are telling you to hook up with them. ”

- Eliza Lord, Groton School

"Everyone should learn about consent and understand what it means. I think that high school is the perfect time to learn about it because students are just entering a way of life where it matters most. Not only are students having and exploring deeper relationships, they are also becoming more exposed to certain things that could get in the way of following consent, such as alcohol and drugs. When Kay, an assembly speaker at Milton, began talking about alcohol, at first I was surprised and unsure of her reasoning behind bringing up the topic; it seemed unrelated to consent. However, throughout the presentation, I came to understand how much alcohol has become a problem in rape cases, including in our own judge Kavanaugh's sexual assault allegation. With so much exposure to alcohol and drugs, teenagers have to pay the more attention to consent than probably any other age group (though really everyone should pay attention to it). Kay did a great job of intertwining topics that ended up being very connected: consent, alcohol and, finally, hook up culture."

Evita Thadhani, Milton Academy

Interview & photograph by 

Grace Li

Interview by Ayleen Cameron &

Isabella Baek

"I don’t understand how it would be safer for a couple to feel the need to go to the woods versus a safe room, and that leaves more gray area and situations for lack of consent because when you have two teenagers in the dark in the middle of a forest, what could go right? I mean, we have that basket of condoms in the health center and that’s as good as it gets. We have the health center; they say “oh, we have Plan B, we’re really accessible,” but then students feel the need to go hook up in a class building or have keys to certain rooms. It just harbors this kind of community and mindset, that “I need to sneak around and this is how the school works, it’s about breaking the rules, because that’s the only way that I’m going to be in a relationship or be involved with someone”–which is definitely going to happen–that’s just human nature. Teenagers are teenagers. [Students] feel like, “why would I obey someone that doesn’t even hear me, you don’t understand me so why should I obey rules that the school sets?”

- Loey Bull, Northfield Mount Hermon

“Consent is… about knowing who you are with, what the situation you’re in. You never want to push someone to do something they never want to do, but at the same time if you know someone, and you know someone well, then consent is all about knowing if you’re ready and if that person is ready, and if you’re in the right situation. I think [consent] is crucial in a relationship, but I think knowing who you are with is more important than actually saying it to each other’s faces, you know? I feel like there isn’t a lot of consent in the Tabor community, which is quite unfortunate, but that’s just kinda how things are… [Consent] goes both ways with guys and girls. I think a lot of times there’s mixed signals and the pressure to do things, especially at Tabor. And not necessarily that they ever regret it, but sometimes they realize they did something too soon in their life. I think underclassmen [in particular] need to know that consent is a huge part of life not just in sexual relationships. I think consent needs to be known and people should be educated about it, but it doesn’t need to be shoved down everyone’s throats. It doesn’t need to be “yes, yes, yes” I feel like not saying yes or saying nothing is enough to mean no.”

Anonymous, Tabor Academy

Interview by Lauren Dawicki

Art by Lily Earley 

Interview by Grace Zawadzki

 

“Consent is not something to be savored until desperately needed, but rather it's something that we have to train our minds to comprehend, so we must begin now. It happened to her and its happening here; not glorified, but real. In these schools it's easy to formulate an opinion of someone based on their reputation, how they dress, or even what they look like. However, these accusations, lead to incorrect assumptions on individual’s intimacy stance. She kept it inside because she thought it was “too small” of an issue, that “it wasn't enough for anyone to do anything”, that she “wouldn’t even feel relieved.” It all came down to “will they think I’m being dramatic? Or will they only see my case shadowed by my reputation?”

- Madeleine Wass, Northfield Mount Hermon

“It should be noted that consent isn’t just verbal, any vibe that you get from your partner that lacks enthusiasm should be taken as a stop sign. These are the questions we shouldn’t have to ask. Speak up, speak now. It's vital to stay in control of something that left you originally powerless. ”

-Alexander Sumner, St. Mark's School

Interview by 

Grace Zawadzki

COPYRIGHT ©2016. THE TAVERN. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  • Instagram