Bishka Zareen Chand reports on how NYU Shanghai is teaching its students about sexual misconduct and consent.
Sexual misconduct is an issue that is becoming more and more relevant in universities around the world, with scandals and lawsuits constantly in the news. As part of the movement to combat sexual violence, NYU Shanghai requires incoming freshmen to complete the online Think About It sex education module to provide them with the basic knowledge of consent and sexual misconduct. On Thursday, the upperclassmen Orientation Ambassadors provided a follow-up from this course, surprising some students who believed the session would be run by staff members. It was a testament to upperclassmen because their involvement made it more personal, and set an excellent example to the new members of the NYU Shanghai community. They performed an engaging presentation which included three different parts.
The session opened with short skits that showed different scenarios to help students understand the various forms of giving or not giving consent. This was a unique and more engaging approach than a traditional lecture, which made it more interesting for the students to listen to. The perspective of both parties in each scenario were shared, as students may not realize that their partner has not given consent, and the skits showed how misunderstandings between two sexual partners can occur. Throughout this section, there was always a discussion of the situation at the end, allowing to students evaluate whether or not there was respect and consent. Some of the scenarios were particularly confusing, leading many students to examine and challenge their own perceptions of sexual consent.
The next section of the presentation showed students effective ways to intervene. This was a very crucial part of the presentation because as a member of the NYU Shanghai community, one must play a role in preventing sexual misconduct and maintain a safe college environment. Different forms of intervention were shown, which was useful because some people are able to directly confront a perpetrator, while others would prefer a more passive role such as creating a distraction. Furthermore, they also emphasized that whilst a friend may be in danger of being sexually assaulted, they themselves could also be the perpetrators in the situation and it is still just as important to intervene if you suspect any sexual assault.
During the last part of the presentation, students were shown the various resources they have access to for incidents sexual misconduct at NYU Shanghai, from the process of reporting an incident to the counseling services available. The presentation emphasized the different resources that students have on campus and highlighted NYU’s stance of support for victims. This part of the presentation was bilingual, as it is very important that all students are on the page of this issue and understand how to deal with any incidents involving sexual misconduct that they may come across throughout their four years at NYU.