Students, psychologist discuss sexual consent

FMU representatives hosted a discussion about sexual assault and Title IX policies, to increase awareness on the new policy on campus.

On Sept 22. interested students came to Chapman Auditorium to learn more about the dangers of sexual assault.

Vice President for Administration, Charlene Wages, opened the discussion by informing students about FMU’s sexual misconduct (Title IX) policies. She introduced the speaker of the evening, psychology professor Lynn Roberts who led the discussion.

It was an open seminar where students could ask questions pertaining to consensual sex, rape and communication in relationships. According to Roberts, every one to two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S.

Roberts said people who have been sexually assaulted never speak up mainly from fear or worry of being judged. Roberts gave tips on ways to avoid sexual assault and how to intervene in situations where sexual assault may occur.

Roberts informed students that sexual assault can happen between two complete strangers as well as between people who are in relationships. The most important factor is communication. No matter how long a couple has been together, if one does not feel comfortable with engaging in sexual activities, then the other partner has to respect that. In other words, no means no.

Roberts also mentioned that sexual assault, even in relationships, can happen in many forms. If two people are in a relationship, sometimes one partner might try to convince the other to perform sexual acts. They would try to persuade them, pressure or guilt them into having sex so that the other partner can agree, making it seem that it is consensual. Nevertheless, that is still a form of sexual assault, and that method is called “sexual coercion.” If there is any pressure involved into making a partner say yes, it is not consensual. When in a relationship, both partners must respect each other’s boundaries, no matter what they are.

Roberts also said sexual assault happens to both women and men. Most cases of sexual assault happening to men go unnoticed because many men do not speak up when it happens.

Lastly, Roberts told students how to intervene in situations where they see that someone may try to take advantage of another person. If one of your friends gets intoxicated when partying, it is best to keep an eye on them. If someone tries to take them to another location, you can intervene and take them away from that person or call the police if needed. It can also work the other way around if you have a friend who wants to try to take advantage of someone. Inform them of the consequences that can occur if they try to make those decisions. Either way, Roberts urged students to prevent sexual assault happening around them.

Roberts is a professor at FMU and Florence Darlington Technical College, as well as a counselor at The Counseling Center of Florence.

“I wanted to do this, because I really want to help teenage girls and young women,” Roberts said. “I love empowering women and I want to be able to educate them so that they know no means no. I want it to feel like an open home for women and young pregnant teenagers.”

Roberts said ever since she started studying psychology, she’s loved it and wanted to make that her choice career. She’s worked at the counseling center for more than two years and continues to teach young women life lessons.