Letter to the Editor: Consent

DiArron Morrison

Much has been said about the required Alcohol Edu and Haven training that all Georgia Southern Students took last month. Absent from most of these conversation is a shocking truth that persist in this State. As a part of the Haven training, students were required to familiarize ourselves with several laws and definitions specific to our state. What is shocking is the unacceptable truth that the State of Georgia has no definition of Consent. This summer I served as a SOAR Leader and as a part of our preparation for “Who will you be” we learned a good bit about the frequent nature of sexual assault on college campuses. This definition, or lack thereof is a dangerous and direct threat to our campus. According to National Sexual Violence Resource Center “it is estimated that the percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions may be between 20% and 25% over the course of a college career.” Having no such definition in our state laws only works to further stigmatize reporting such incidents. If this state doesn’t care to verbalize what qualifies as consent and what doesn’t, how can we feel confident in it’s ability to appropriately ensure that such cases are met with the due amount of justice. It is almost 2016 and I can’t think of any good reason not to have this clearly and purposefully recorded in our laws. I do not know why in this present day something so simple and so needed is missing from the annals of our legal process. However, what I do know is that there are over 300,000 student attending college in this state. Given the relationship between college campuses and sexual assault, there are over 300,000 lives being potentially affected by this inaction. I realize that this is an uncomfortable topic. I realize that defining consent may very well not stop any sexual assault. However, what I do know is that it could help someone. A brave soul who has not only fought through the horrors of being attacked, but may be fighting through the unfortunate backlash that society often awards to survivors of such situations, may be able to find solace in the the justice that this definition can make way for. If this does not effect anyone else it effects us. It’s a big deal to us whether we know it or not. Now it’s time for our leaders to make it a big deal to them.