Consent is key at the Dawson City Music Festival
A Summer 2015 Yukon Prospector Web Extra
For the last five years the Consent Crew has been at DCMF talking about the importance of enthusiastic consent, and engaging people with facts about sexual assault.
“Not too many people know that most sexual assault happens between people who know each other. Like 78 per cent, it’s a big number,” says Consent Crew organizer Maryne Dumaine. Maryne was working the Consent Crews booth at the festival. There, people could make buttons with slogans that promoted healthy consensual sex. “It’s not sensual unless it’s consensual” and “Too much gin? Don’t stick it in” being two crowd favourites.
"It also lets us talk with parents about how to talk to their children about consent."
The activity gave Maryne the chance to spread the word about consent, even when it went beyond sexual encounters. While chatting with me about the Consent Crew, two small children walked up to Maryne with their father and asked what she was doing. Maryne asked the one child if she would like it if someone gave her a hug without asking her. To which the child gave a resounding “no”.
“It also lets us talk with parents about how to talk to their children about consent,” she says. Something that might be an awkward subject for some parents.
Away from the booth, about 8 volunteers were walking around in pairs, engaging festival goers. They braved the beer garden, approaching people with questions and scenarios meant to get them thinking about the nature of healthy sexual encounters.
In one encounter a man was asked if he believed in the term “friend zone”. A term used to describe situations where one person isn’t physically interested in having sex with the other, and is also a friend. The discussion that followed was lively and informative. They talked about why the term is a misnomer, and the damage that sort of labelling can do.
“I think it’s a bit ridiculous, to think that just because a women doesn’t want to sleep with you that you’re in some magical place where everything is hopeless. A women, your friend, isn’t a bitch because she doesn’t want to sleep with you. We need to stop sexualizing every aspect of our life,” says George Heart, a 30 year-old construction worker from Calgary.
The territory-wide initiative is organized by the French Women’s group, Les EssentiElles, based in Whitehorse. The consent crew has been to about ten events this year. 2015 is the first time they’ve targeted places other than music events.
The response has been tremendous says Maryne. “It’s nice to see people recognizing us this year,” she says.
Along with talking about consent and healthy sex, they’ve also been handing out condoms. The groups focus is on being sex positive. For instance, they’d rather say “do get consent” then “don’t sexually assault” says Maryne.
“We’re absolutely not saying ‘don’t have sex’. We’re saying have sex, but have good sex,” she says. Y
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