Only a sober ‘yes’ means ‘yes’

Hope Shores Alliance has planned several events throughout April to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month, News staff writer Mike Gonzalez reported recently.

The advocacy and support group partnered with schools to talk to students and allow students to create artwork to raise awareness of the horror that is sexual assault. The group partnered with North Country Candy and Gifts to create custom drinks, the sale of which will raise funds for Hope Shores.

And Hope Shores will host two candlelight vigils — from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Alpena Community College and from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Robert J. Parks Library in Oscoda — to honor survivors of sexual assault.

But something Jeanine Kaltz, impact director at Hope Shores, told Gonzalez really caught our eye.

“There are adults who have not had conversations about consent,” Katz told Gonzalez, “and we really create an environment where everybody’s put at risk.”

She’s right.

At its core, sexual assault is about the lack of consent. It’s not just forcible rape. It’s also sex or any kind of sexual activity without affirmative consent made by someone with the capacity to consent.

A drunken “yes” is not a “yes.” A lack of a “no” is not consent.

We must teach our young people — and plenty of older people, too — that only a sober “yes” means “yes.”

We must have conversations about consent and we must let survivors of sexual assault know we support them.

We say thanks to Hope Shores Alliance for starting those conversations.



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