In today’s ever changing digital and intellectual space, we often are so bombarded by information that we lack the understanding of a social movement or what stands behind a volatile article or raunchy tabloid headline. It’s shock and awe at its best in the American Social Media Circus that is today’s place of worship. We find more people that are busy curating their profiles online selfies than researching current events or movements within the news culture. When did we stop becoming advocates for each other? April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and for the entire month of April it’s important to highlight the importance of asking for consent. On the recent heels of the #metoo movement along with #timesup the #Iask campaign has launched full throttle into our atmosphere. While this is the 19th year for #SAAM the cause is ever out there hiding in plain sight right under our noses.
This movement shows that just because you both swiped right, doesn't equate to consent. It doesn’t mean that you’re a match made in heaven. It means you have the opportunity to connect, to get to know each other, and ultimately if the stars should align, ask for consent, make sure that the person you’re with understands what that means. That isn’t just a courtesy that a man gives a woman, it’s a fundamental humanitarian right, to make sure that the person you’re going to be sexually intimate with is well aware of that and is most importantly comfortable with sex.
Awareness + Action = Social Change
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center “The ‘I Ask’ campaign is a great opportunity to normalize conversations about consent and to empower everyone to ask and respect the answer. [...] Asking for consent is a concrete and powerful way to ensure that everyone feels safe and respected.”
Finally, the Sexual Assault Awareness movement is closely tied with women's issues across the board, and illuminates how sex trafficking has just become another spoke in the continuum of sexual violence. Sex trafficking has woven itself into the fabric of our society, and has been allowed to fester under the surface because we have allowed for sex abuse to be normalized in our society. We cannot solve sex trafficking without acknowledging our cultural hyperfixation on sex. The acceptance or normalization of sexual violence in and the objectivity our movies, tabloids and news cycle have created is quite alarming when you think about how much sex is the central theme. “I Ask” is about awareness of consent and it’s one of the first things a trafficker does not consider. A traffickers’ goal is to mask sexual exchange as a transaction. A traffickers end game is not consent, it’s a lie, a scam, and a con. Sadly, one too many young victims fall prey to. The #Iask campaign is one that moves to combat sexual assault and violence as does anti-trafficking awareness. The two are interwoven together. If you’d like to learn more about human trafficking and what it means to be “trafficked” Safe House Project is an organization that is fighting to equip and empower people with the proper information to make changes in our individual communities. Change begins when we start to communicate about the information that's out there. Change begins with me, I ask.