Looking for something to do on campus this Valentine’s day? Head over to RCW from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a Valentine Scavenger Hunt.
The Facebook page for the event describes, “On Valentine’s Day, we invite you to participate in our annual: CRUSHING (the patriarchy, white settler-colonialism, heteronormativity, interlocking systems of oppression) EVENT! This year we aren’t hosting a booth, rather a scavenger hunt. Find some snazzy valentine’s on campus, and feel free to share them with the folks you care about, hang’em on your wall, or post about it on social media (#consentisgolden).”
The event, titled Crushin’, is being hosted by the group Consent is Golden, which is run by Advocates for a Student Culture of Consent (ASCC). ASCC is a research and action group supported by the Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG). The scavenger hunt has consent, self-love, and non-heteronormative themed valentines hidden around campus for students to find.
Taylor Berzins, co-founder of ASCC and former Laurier Brantford student, states, “This is our third annual version of handing out consent-oriented Valentines. It started three years ago with a booth, and we focused most of our energy on making consent-themed and feminist materials. As we’ve grown more in our own academic and activist work, so has this project. We’re very focused on portraying a wider representation of consensual loving, as well as self-love, queer and trans love, and decolonial love. This is our second year calling the project “Crushin’” because we love that whole early-2000s vibe of “Crushin’” (you know, like “I’m crushin’ on you”), mixed with the idea of literally thinking through the act of “crushing” systems of oppression through messages of love.”
Consent is Golden works to bring information to Laurier students around the importance of consensual sex and what it means. The group’s website has a detailed and thorough description around sexual consent that includes, “It’s an essential part of sex. We’re talking all kinds of sex: sex with your hands, sex with your mouth, sex with toys, plus all those acts that may lead to sex like cuddling, sexting or making out. Consent is a must for all of this hot stuff. Everyone has to get ‘the okay’ before getting busy in any way.”
The scavenger hunt encourages Laurier students to think about consent through finding, sharing, and posting the Valentine’s cards hidden around campus.
“This event is important because it offers a rupture of the typical narratives we’re force-fed on Valentine’s Day. It is important to explore the concept of “love” in ways that push our imaginations, and offer us something to think through. Valentine’s Day sucks for folks who aren’t partnered, it sucks for folks who are feeling lonely, and it sucks for folks who see overrepresentations of “love” that totally leave their bodies, sexualities, and experiences of love out. We also really like the idea of riffing off of the cheesy kitsch of Valentine’s Day aesthetic to remind people that they’re loved, and that they’re seen!,” states Berzins.
With a day that is focused around love, Berzins explains the importance of consent on Valentine’s day, “Check in with whoever you’re hanging out with (be it romantically or with a friend) even in non-sexual circumstances, like asking where someone wants to go for dinner, what they like, etc. Consent is all about communication, checking in, and making sure that everyone involved is comfortable and feeling good to actively participate. Do your best to not make assumptions about how anyone else is feeling, and regardless of how awkward you might feel, check in! Whether it’s about what to eat for dinner, a date venue, or getting hot and heavy- a quick, “how’s this feeling,” “do you like this,” “Is it cool if I (blank)?” or “are you into (blank)?” are all excellent practices of consent. Also, always respect someone’s answer, and if an answer is unclear, or if you’re sensing that they’re not vibing, ask again. Trust your gut- if someone seems like they’re hesitating or not into something, or maybe they’ve had a lot to drink, don’t pressure them. There can be lots of unfair expectations on Valentine’s Day but respect boundaries, respect limits, and respect that yes means yes and no means no!,” she states.
Consent is Golden also provides information and helpful resources for those who have experienced sexual assault, or who have been confided in by someone who has.
Upcoming events include a sex-positivity campaign promoted by ASCC and a workshop in residences on International Women’s Day.
For more information on upcoming events, visit ASCC’s Facebook and Instagram pages. For more information around consent and sexual assault, visit www.consentisgolden.ca.