Yes means yes

The Campus Health Centre, Residence and Office of Student Diversity, Inclusions and Transitions have partnered to launch the Yes Means Yes campaign. It is designed to present a positive framework to the previously promoted No Means No slogan and shifts the focus of its message to ownership and personal agency for one’s own sexual experiences. This is an opportunity to raise awareness about healthy sex, and for students to engage in dialogue about self-awareness, confidence and resource knowledge when making decisions about sex. The campaign focuses on consent and its many layers, as well as the exploration of healthy relationships, healthy sex and sexuality.

The Yes Means Yes campaign will:

  • Encourage our students to take ownership of their own sexual behaviour
  • Raise awareness about the definition and many facets of consent
  • Engage students to lead events and awareness initiatives about healthy sexual practices, consent, sexuality and healthy relationships
  • Encourage an environment that supports and celebrates healthy sexual experiences
  • Create a culture that supports students as they explore their sexuality
  • Promote dialogue about the realities of healthy relationships for students

Self-awareness/respect

A reflection of a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her worth.

Objective: To encourage our students to take ownership of oneself, and their own sexual behaviour.

Self-awareness is the ability to reflect and understand one’s own thoughts, emotions and behaviour, as well as how these affect an individual and others around them. To encourage students to be more self-aware is to help them to explore their individual personalities, value systems, beliefs, natural inclinations and tendencies. Each person is different in the way they learn, react to behaviour and rationalize information. It is helpful for individuals to occasionally spend time in self-reflection to gain better insight into themselves.

Healthy relationships

Two or more people have a relationship when the perceived behaviour of one significantly affects the holistic health, functioning and growth of the other(s).

Objective: Encourage dialogue about the realities of healthy relationships for students.

People engage in various types of interpersonal relationships throughout their lives, with family, friends, and neighbours, as well as intimate and/or sexual relationships. Each of these relationships varies in their quality of openness, communication, trust, power, respect and affection. Norms and practices about romantic relationships, marriage, sexual behaviour and resolving conflict vary enormously around the world. Culturally, people express their affection in many different ways.

At Durham College, we want to educate students on the qualities that sustain a healthy relationship and help them to determine and recognize when various qualities contribute to an unhealthy relationship. We recognize that students will be involved in a variety of sexual and non-sexual relationships within the college environment. We encourage students to recognize that the type of relationship is not the most important; all that matters is that as individuals they are happy and healthy.

Consent

Permission or a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. In other words, it means communicating yes on one’s own terms.

Objective: Raise awareness about the definition and many facets of consent.

Everyone has the right to sexuality without violence and as part of that we believe sexuality begins with enthusiastic consent. What matters in consent are the people involved in the moment of sexual activity and whether or not each of them is engaging with consent. Everything else – their environment, their clothes, what they said earlier – is completely irrelevant. When the focus lies only on the person or people involved in that moment, consent is actually clear and intuitive. Only yes means yes – and yes should come from an engaged and enthusiastic partner or partners.

We want to encourage students to recognize the importance and power of consent and to take ownership of their yes or no. Students should be aware of sexual violence as well as their sexual rights and responsibilities. Consent can be given in many ways. When one is not completely clear about consent, they should ask to confirm. If they are still not sure, they should consider it a no.

Healthy sex

A positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.

Objectives:

  • Promote an environment that supports and celebrates healthy sexual experiences
  • Encourage our students to take ownership of sexual behaviour

Students choose to be intimate in a variety of ways, ranging from holding hands to engaging in sexual intercourse. Being sexually active or remaining abstinent is a choice our students need to make and one that will commonly be made more than once. Students are encouraged to be safe and to take ownership of these decisions.

At Durham College, we want to our students to be aware that regardless of the choices they make in regard to their sex life, there are campus and community supports available to discuss any questions or concerns they have. Our goal is to create an environment where students can engage in honest and safe dialogue about all aspects of healthy sex. The essence of our message is that whatever decisions students make about their sex life, they should be informed and own it, but most importantly, be safe.

Sexuality

Objective: Create a culture that supports students as they explore their sexuality.

Sexuality is diverse and deeply personal. Understanding one’s sexuality is about the sexual feelings and attractions one feels towards other people, not about who one has sex with. There are different types of sexuality and it can take time for an individual to figure out what fits right for them. It can also be about one’s sense of identity. It has to do with biology and psychology, with pleasures and values, and with the relationships one has with one’s self, their friends and their potential partners.

The foundation of determining one’s gender is to accept who they are and then be able to create a meaningful life and significant relationships regardless of the gender of the people they love or are attracted to. It is equally important to know it is an individual’s right to gain access to the information they need in a way that supports their gender and sexuality, while allowing them to make informed decisions about their sexuality, sexual activities and their sexual health.

At Durham College, we have created services that are supportive, non-judgmental and respectful. The campus culture is one that encourages acceptance and celebration of all diversity. For more information or to discuss questions or concerns relating to self-awareness/respect, healthy relationships, consent, healthy sex or sexuality, students can contact:

Campus Health Centre
T: 905.721.3037
E: healthcare@durhamcollege.ca

Office of Student Diversity, Inclusion and Transitions
T: 905.721.2000 ext. 2856
E: diversity@durhamcollege.ca

Office of Campus Safety
T: 905.721.3211
E: security@dc-uoit.ca

Durham College Students Inc. – Outreach Services
T: 905.721.2000 ext. 7616
E: saoutreachservices@dc-uoit.ca