Main Navigation

The New Consent Narrative: Episode 3 — Here are some things you can do to prevent sexual violence

The New Consent Narrative: Episode 3 -- Here are some things you can do to prevent sexual violence

In the third episode of The New Consent Narrative, host Jilly Mcbane and guest Allie Moore, the graduate assistant at the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, discuss how violence prevention work has impacted their own lives and how they’ve changed as people, as well as the ways in which they hope to see others change. The New Consent Narrative is aimed at breaking down myths and misconceptions about relationship and sexual violence.

The New Consent Narrative is hosted by Jilly Mcbane, a student staff member at the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education. Brooke Adams is the podcast producer. Theme music is by Lobo Loco. Special thank you to Robert Nelson of the Marriott Library for technical help. This is the final episode in the series -- at least for now! Thanks for listening.

Click on this link to hear the full episode.


Jilly Mcbane: Hello and welcome to episode three of The New Consent Narrative, a podcast where we break down myths and misconceptions about relationship and sexual violence. And today, especially, we're going to be talking about what you can do about it. Our aim is to share information in a relatable, easy and digestible manner for college students who want to be a part of the solution but may not know where to start.

My name is Jilly Mcbane. I'm in my sophomore year studying health society and policy at the University of Utah. I also come from an upper middle-class background and identify as a white cisgender woman, which shaped some of my perspectives that I will be sharing with you guys today.

I'm very excited for this episode because I am joined by Allie Moore, who is the graduate assistant at the MCVP. We are going to get personal and talk about how our work relates to our own lives and hopefully you can find a way it applies to yours. Thank you for being here, Allie!

Allie Moore: Yay! Thanks for having me, Jilly. I'm so excited!

Jilly Mcbane: Can you share with our listeners a little bit about yourself and what you do in your role at the center?

Allie Moore: Yeah. My name's Allie. I'm a white, queer cis woman and that informs my perspectives. I'm also a survivor of sexual violence. I'm currently a graduate student at the U studying public administration and I have bachelor's degrees in writing and rhetorical studies and gender studies. I just graduated last spring. Like you said, I'm the graduate assistant at the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention. I've been working at the MCVP since in its inception three years ago. In my current position, I also do educational programming and I hop in on some of the research teams for the center.

Jilly Mcbane: Thanks for sharing. Seeing as how you've kind of been working at the center for a while now, would you like to talk about some of the changes you've seen regarding relationship and sexual violence over the years?

Allie Moore: I think the biggest changes I've seen is since the center first started the way people talk about relationship and sexual violence on campus. I think the start of the center really encouraged those conversations around the culture on our campus and how we uphold that culture surrounding relationship and sexual violence.

I also believe those conversations about campus culture have become more consistent and have been effective in calling out and changing the normalized narratives of relationship and sexual violence. When I talk about those narratives, I'm talking about things like rape myths and victim-centered approaches that we talk about, like stranger danger, alcohol risk factors, self-defense classes, stuff like that. I see a number of students in student groups either taking a different approach or calling it out when the same old ineffective practices are used.

This is also where I think we come in as the MCVP. I think our job as a center has really solidified into doing things differently in ways that have historically not been implemented on college campuses. The reason this is so important is because rates of relationship and sexual violence on college campuses haven't changed since the 1950s. When we break down those norms and myths, we start to see a shift in the culture, in the narrative around relationship and sexual violence on our campus.

You've been working with the MCVP for over a year now. I'd be interested to know what kind of changes you have experienced over that short period of time?

Jilly Mcbane: Thanks for asking that, Allie. I'd like to mention that I agree that our campus is making a lot of changes and progress. But I've honestly noticed a lot of changes in myself. I feel like I am a lot more cognizant of the language I use now, even if it's something as minor as using active rather than passive voice when talking about harm. So, in the past I'd say something like, "They were assaulted" rather than "Someone assaulted them." This is a small change, but it really puts the responsibility back on the person who caused harm and it adds a human element to it rather than it seeming something that just happened, which is how it is phrased so often. Anything that implies that the responsibility isn't on the perpetrator can translate to blaming the victim.

I think that a lot of my other ways of thinking have changed, too. For example, I used to think that people who cause harm deserve to be locked up and receive no sympathy for their actions, but now I know that we need to engage people who cause harm and educate them on how to stop that behavior because that is critical to ending relationship and sexual violence.

Allie Moore: Yeah, and do you feel like you've changed in your relationships as well?

Jilly Mcbane: I mean, absolutely. It's not always easy, but I like to call out harmful behaviors or comments when I encounter them, even if it's coming from someone I'm close to. On top of being on the MCVP team, I'm also a member of the Honors College at the U and I'm involved in Greek life and have a pretty active friend group. The reason I bring this up is because these are all communities and groups I surround myself with and I've realized that every group and every person in a group has the capacity to cause harm. And, especially during these college years, we have to engage in community because it is vital for our growth and development, all of that.

I also feel like having this job has given me the opportunity to bring up topics about sex and relationships with these people, which can otherwise be difficult. I also make it a point to ask about the small things, like asking if someone wants a hug or a picture taken of them, rather than just doing it without asking.

I'd like to say this work can be really tough and overwhelming at times, which makes me want to ask you, how do you take care of yourself? How do you go about your work-life balance? How do you manage this work and day-to-day life?

Allie Moore: Yeah. Like I mentioned before, I do identify as a survivor of sexual violence, so this work can be very taxing for me at times and if I don't do it, who else will? I feel like that has been my mindset pretty often. My experiences are so pertinent to these issues on campus that if I don't invest my time and thoughtfulness into my communities, who's going to be the one to do it?

I think when it comes to balancing the hard conversations of doing this work and taking care of myself in the process, the most important factor for me is finding the joy in everything. So, I try and find joy in having a purpose in helping people at work and in my position, but outside of my position, I also look for joy through things like reading fiction books or taking a ceramics class or just being outside.

Jilly Mcbane: Thank you for sharing all of that. I love that. Do you have any advice for our listeners on what they can do in their own lives to prevent harm?

Allie Moore: Call out those normalized behaviors that are causing harm. Self-awareness is only possible through deep self-reflection. Push your yourself to reflect on the ways you have or might be currently causing harm and do something to intervene. For example, if you find yourself talking with your friends about the intimate details of a sexual encounter you have had, maybe evaluate if that partner would be okay with you sharing that information. If you find yourself having to ask your partner multiple times to have sex until they finally say yes, maybe ask yourself why the first answer wasn't good enough for you.

An example of a time I had to do some serious self-reflection was when an ex-partner of mine told me that I made them feel terrible when I called them stupid. I, of course, didn't mean that they were stupid, it was just how I was used to describing an instance when the other person doesn't know an answer or just doesn't have as much information on a topic as I do. I realized this was a behavior that was normalized for me and didn't reflect my values or what I truly meant. “Stupid” is no longer in my vocabulary. I use words like “silly” instead and try to be more empathetic when explaining things to people instead of coming off as condescending.

Jilly Mcbane: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that personal example. I feel like with issues like this that are so complex and intimidating, people feel like there's nothing that they can do that will have an impact, but that's clearly not the case. We impact people in our everyday lives, especially the ones we're closest to.

I'd like to add also that one of the MCVP's philosophies is that we all have the potential to cause harm, so it's important to notice these harmful behaviors, even if they're our own, and question others when they use questionable language or make comments that feel victim blaming or support rape myths or any of that. Also, make sure that we're engaging in conversation with our friends. We have the biggest impact on our peers.

Allie Moore: Yes! And everyone's potential to cause harm is why we need to do that deep self-reflection that I was talking about earlier. It isn't a matter of bad people causing harm and good people don't. It's not that black and white. We all cause harm, but it's what we do about it and how we go about reconciling it within ourselves and others that make us better people.

Jilly Mcbane: That is such a good point to end on. Thank you for joining me today, Allie.

Allie Moore: Thanks for having me, Jilly.

Jilly Mcbane: And thanks to all of you for listening. We hope you enjoyed this episode and made connections between what we covered and your own lives.

This is the third and final episode in The New Consent Narrative — at least for now. If you missed episodes one and two, we hope you will give those a listen, too.

I'm your host Jilly Mcbane from the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education. Our producer is Brooke Adams. Theme music is Lobo Loco. And special thanks to Robert Nelson of the Marriott Library for technical help. Bye and thank you for listening!