SPARKit: Wanna Be Startin’ Something?
Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) works with youth organizers to STOP sexual harassment and gender-based violence in schools and on the streets.
Students in New York City and beyond experience sexual harassment from students and school staff in the form of:
- Pressure for sex
- Groping in the hallways
- Stalking to and from school
- Bullying about their sexual or gender identities
- Sexually explicit comments about their bodies
Did you know that under Title IX of the Education Amendment every U.S. public elementary, middle/junior high, and high school is obligated to have a designated school staff person to receive reports on sexual harassment? It is the responsibility of the school to make sure that the entire school community knows who that person is; they can be a guidance counselor, the principal or a teacher.
GGE encourages all students — especially young women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender-identified students — to START voicing their experiences with sexual harassment in their school. Once we can name it, then we can STOP it!
GGE youth organizers co-facilitate “Hey…Shorty! Workshops on Sexual Harassment” in New York City and across the country. During these workshops, we do a STOP circle, and we want you to bring this activity to your community!
Now, it’s your turn to say STOP!
Let’s START here!
Directions for “Wanna Be Startin’ Something?”
Materials: Red paper, green paper, black markers, and a group people ready to claim their voices
1. Create STOP and START signs!
- Take a sheet of red paper and cut out the shape of an octagon.
- On one side of the octagon, take a black marker and write STOP in big, bold lettering.
- Take a sheet of green paper and cut out the shape of a circle.
- On one side of the circle, take a black marker and write START in big, bold lettering.
2. Create STOP and START phrases
- Think of a time when a friend, a parent or stranger did something to you that you didn’t like (e.g., you were talking and someone didn’t listen to you)
- Come up with a phrase that describes what you didn’t like, starting with the word “STOP…”
- Write this phrase on the STOP sign.
- Then, come up with a phrase that describes what you would like from the person instead, starting with the word “START…”
- Write this phrase on the START sign.
3. Here are some examples:
- STOP calling me a “Bitch.” START respecting me.
- STOP abusing me. START loving me.
- STOP ignoring me. START paying attention to me.
- STOP being a follower. START being a leader.
- STOP following me home from school/work. START respecting my personal space.
4. Once STOP and START signs are complete, everyone will stand in a circle with their signs in hand.
5. Ask someone to volunteer to be the first read their STOP/START signs aloud.
6. Everyone will go around the circle reading aloud their STOP/START signs. Feeling empowered? Finding your voice? GREAT! Now go out and teach others how to do this activity, but most of all START using your voice to STOP injustice.
Show us how you say STOP!
Big News: You Can Be One of Our People!
hello people we love very much:
we’re looking to expand our team. and that means we’re looking at you.
+ people to be a part of our tumblr team (AKA scour tumblr for good content, or reblog the content of your own dashboard to our shiny tumblr!)
+ people to write about consent for us on an upcoming campaign blog (meaning news, opinion, and personal testimony writing about sex, consent, and/or sexual violence, sex-positivity, sex, sex, etc.)
If you’re interested, shoot an email to carmen [at] keepitconsensual [dot] org. If you’re interested in being on the tumblr team, please shoot the message from your login email.
We love Carmen and we love (Con)sensual! You should all jump on this right away.
“Enthusiastic consent” is about asking and listening. And it’s a powerful feminist concept that could change our entire world. The consent-positive movement is about more than “no.” It’s about “yes.” It’s about waiting for someone to verbally, enthusiastically, consent to having sex with you before you start having sex with them. No still means no. Violating that no is still wrong. But in addition, only “yes” can mean yes: not silence, or a short skirt, or the fact that we met you at Jello Wrestling and fucked you last week. Consent is about being able to say “I want this / I don’t want this” and being respected. It’s about expecting to hear some variation of one of those phrases when you begin to engage in sex. It’s about a completely safe, comfortable, and pleasurable kind of sex. Consent makes it possible for every single person in the world to have completely different boundaries and desires and still feel fulfilled and respected in bed. I liked that.
We’ve partnered up with The Line to create our latest SPARKit! Check it out:
The Line Campaign exists to empower young leaders to create a world without sexual violence. The Line is a movie, a non-profit, and a movement that creates critical dialogues around sexuality, relationships, and consent that inspire action against sexual and gender-based violence. The folks at The Line Campaign know that to empower young people we must listen to them, so they encourage personal perspectives on sexuality, health, and rights and help facilitate authentic conversations and responsive actions.
One of our favorite activities, offered here as a SPARKit, is “Where Is Your Line?” a conversation and action about drawing the line and expressing yourself when it comes to sexual consent. Where are your emotional and physical boundaries? What do you want? What don’t you like? What if they change? This action encourages youth to consider their own “line” and to create postcards to discuss and post on Flickr for others to see.
We love Carmen Rios so much and we’re so glad to have her on board at SPARK. Check out her speech from SlutWalk DC, excerpted below:
I started (con)sensual in 2009 because I wanted to get everyone talking. I wanted to hear every voice. And I still do. Because the time to dismantle rape culture and end our culture of shame is now. Because that time should have been a long time ago. And SlutWalk belongs in D.C. because this is a city of loud voices – but not ours. We have watched Washington go silent on sexual violence, comprehensive sex education, our bodily autonomy, our human rights, and our safety. That is unacceptable. The voices in Washington should sound more like ours.
I question whether she was using intentionally murky language because she is a very prominent, extremely well-paid abstinence speaker and not having willingly had sex could bolster her position and reduce criticisms from those who consider her a hypocrite…. But it could also be that a young woman from a very conservative family that traffics in circles that regularly deny that date rape exists would have a hard time naming it. We don’t know. It could be that she doesn’t even know.
Tricky, tricky issue, but strikes us as too important to ignore.
We <3 “Where Is Your Line?” and are thrilled to have them at SPARK Summit!
Where Is Your Line? is a movement urging young people everywhere to become more comfortable setting sexual boundaries, encourage verbal consent in sexual situations, and spread the word- that consensual sex is hot sex!