Consent Education – It’s Not Just For College Campuses

By: Jenn Heitmeyer, Advancement Manager, Domestic Violence Network

This past week I was lucky enough to take a few vacation days and head up to Rothbury, Michigan for a camping music festival called Electric Forest. This year was my first time attending the event, and despite the fact that I was going with some experienced veterans, I still found myself combing the website for every last detail to make sure I was prepared. In addition to the basics of what to bring, how to get there, artist line up etc., I found the regulations and guidelines that Electric Forest provides for all staff, artists, and attendees. It was incredible to see how dedicated they are to making sure that everyone has a fun, unforgettable, and most importantly SAFE experience. One thing that caught my eye on their Guidelines and Resources page was a section covering expectations of consent as well as links to the RAINN website for further details and information.

From the Electric Forest Official Website:

Electric Forest exists within a wider culture for which sex and consent are topics that need careful learning and loving attention. Please bring the consciousness of consent with you as you celebrate with new (and old!) friends. If you would like to learn more about what consent means, click here for more information from RAINN.”

 

This really struck a chord with me. I could not tell you the last large-scale event I attended that covered consent in their Guidelines and Resources. Later in the week, one of my friends texted me that a password for one of the secret attractions was the word CONSENT! What an amazing way to drop that subtle reminder into the hands of the attendees.  In my previous experience, consent was a footnote mentioned in Alcohol Ed my freshman year of college, and if there were sexual assaults on campus, it would get mentioned in the email that went out to the student body with a note from faculty stating the issue was being addressed. But, is that enough?

 

Music festivals and other large scale events like Electric Forest are becoming enormously popular with more and more announced each summer.  When organizers take the time to make guidelines surrounding these topics, it makes everyone who attends feel much safer in their surroundings as well as reminds them that they are accountable for their actions. By taking it a step further and not just reminding people to drink water and not bring glass, it reminds them to be kind and respectful to one another. I think this plays a huge part in why everyone loves this festival so much. The energy there is so positive! I hope that more festivals and events continue to introduce  these resources and enforce these policies at their own venues, so that these kind of events can continue to be such a wonderful experience for everyone!

 

Written by Jenn Heitmeyer, DVN Advancement Manager