Cambridge for Consent has today begun publicising their campaign Cambridge for Consent

A university wide campaign to raise awareness of consent in Cambridge, 'Cambridge for Consent', has launched today with the creation of a new website.

The campaign plans to host consent-themed events for student such as club nights and self-defence classes.

Speaking to Varsity about the motivation behind the new campaign, head and founder Rowan Douglas said: "The inspiration for Cambridge for Consent really rose from the successes of Pink Week. It's easy to feel powerless in the face of such huge issues – sexual assault and breast cancer to name just a few.

"However, working with Pink Week really brought home to me the realisation that, if you really try, you can make a difference. Sexual assault is an issue that is close to my heart, so I'd been hoping to address it for some time.

"The campaign initially started as just a support website for survivors – somewhere they could go when they didn't know to whom to turn. My aim was to go some way to helping them to feel a little less alone and a little more supported, after what can be such an isolating experience. The campaign has gone further than just the website however, and this is where the Teal Ribbon Campaign comes in."

The Teal Ribbon Campaign is another central initiative of Cambridge for Consent. Aiming to target drinking societies directly, Rowan described it "simply as a medium for addressing the culture of drinking and the danger this poses in Cambridge". 

The Ribbon Campaign, which has been launched along with the new website, asks participants to sign an online pledge that reads: “We [the undersigned] are committed to the promotion, recognition and celebration of sexual consent. We will not stay silent about sexual harrassment and assault. We recognise that consent is a fundamental principle of all relationships and are committed to ensuring a positive and safe environment for all.”

The pledge also allows for signatories to specify what drinking society they are a part of, choosing from a drop down list of over 69 drinking societies across different colleges.

Speaking on Cambridge for Consent's attitude towards drinking societies, however, Douglas was clear that "We cast no aspersions on the societies that we contact and make no attempt to address the historic association of such drinking societies with misogynistic practices.

"The Teal Ribbon Campaign is one of solidarity. A large proportion of sexual assaults happen when either the assailant or the victim has been drinking, it is for this reason that we believe a show of solidarity is essential on Caesarian Sunday."

In addition to targeting students, the campaign plans to interact with local primary and secondary schools to increase awareness of consent across Cambridge.

These events come after Cambridge received national media attention for hosting compulsory sexual consent classes at many college freshers' weeks.

These workshops, however, were organised by the CUSU Women's Campaign, which currently runs its own 'Sexual Consent Campaign'. This campaign states on its web-page that it will be "hosting events and teaming up with other nationwide campaigns to become part of the mass student-led movement against rape on campus."

When asked about the decision to launch Cambridge for Consent separately from the Women's Campaign, Douglas told Varsity that "we have set up Cambridge for Consent independently of them because we are not a women's campaign. Sexual assault is genderless and orientationless, it can happen to anyone and we want our campaign to reflect that. Sexual assault is a human experience, not a female experience.

"Of course, we recognise the Women's Campaign are doing excellent work in this area, so it would be great to work with them. The consent workshops they organise are invaluable and we'd love to help with them in any way we can. In addition, if C4C can help with the push for a university-wide sexual harassment policy - I'd love for that to happen!"

The Women's Campaign have yet to respond to Varsity's request for comment.

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