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Lecture to explore role of consent in preventing sexual violence

While the concept of consent has permeated popular culture as a way to defuse sexual violence, does this focus really set the standard for healthy and ethical sexual relations?

Melanie Beres of the Department of Sociology, Gender, and Social Work at the University of Otago, New Zealand, seeks to address this question in a free public lecture Wednesday, November 19, at 4 p.m. in McPherson Lounge, Alumni Hall.

“Embedded within feminist activism, messages about consent are used to challenge rape culture and an attempt to focus responsibility for rape onto the perpetrator,” says Dr. Beres. “Unfortunately, these messages are put forward without strong theoretical engagement or empirical literature supporting the use of the concept of consent.”

Her presentation, entitled “The Limits of Consent for Sexual Violence Prevention,” is sponsored by the women’s studies program. In it, she reflects on her research to make suggestions for changes to the way we communicate about consent.