A STUDENT leaflet has sparked outrage after it claimed “smiling” and “laughing” are signs of consent.
The group behind it have been forced to axe have been forced to axe the flyer which is handed out to university students in an effort to crack down on sex crimes.
Laughing, eye contact and smiling are listed as possible signs of consent[/caption]
The handout – given to youngsters across campus – contained lengthy lists of actions that could be seen as verbal and non-verbal consent, including nodding and eye-contact.
But the info contained in the posters sparked fury among many.
Writing on Twitter, Abbie Magma said: “As if Aberdeen University are handing these out saying that ‘smiling’ and ‘eye contact are signs of consent.’
“If it’s not verbal then it’s not consent mate.”
Katie Read, said: “It is news to me that laughter would be considered a sign of consent?
“People often laugh in awkward/uncomfortable situations. Aberdeen University do better.”
The university immediately distanced itself from the leaflets – explaining it had nothing to do with university bosses and was created by an independent student group.
‘NON VERBAL CONSENT’
The group – Aberdeen University Consent Awareness and Sexual Education group (CASE) – describes itself as “an intersectional, feminist, anti-racist group run for students, and by students at the University of Aberdeen.”
The group’s aim is to “seek to reduce sexual assault and harassment through raising awareness about consent and by educating Aberdonians on preventive measures.”
A spokesperson for CASE said: “Our pamphlet on Sex and Support provides a list of various non-verbal and verbal signs of possible consent as well as a corresponding list of signs of no consent.
“We are aware that some people have reacted to the inclusion of non-verbal signs of possible consent as it is not consent without verbal cues. We completely agree with this.
“The key word for this section of our pamphlet would be ‘possible’, as non-verbal signs in particular cannot be used to determine consent and are often misunderstood.
We regret to have made anyone think that non-verbal signs of possible consent can replace explicit verbal consent. We will be working on making this clear for future iterations of our pamphlet and will take the current one out of circulation.
Aberdeen University Consent Awareness and Sexual Education
“Smiling and laughing are especially often seen as consent to proceed with various sexual activities without that being the case.
“The purpose of having these lists included in the pamphlet was to alert people to these various signs so that they have a more thorough understanding of consent communication.
“Evidently this was not the case and we regret to have made anyone think that non-verbal signs of possible consent can replace explicit verbal consent.
“We will be working on making this clear for future iterations of our pamphlet and will take the current one out of circulation.”
An Aberdeen University spokesman added: “The leaflet referenced was produced by a student group and the University had no input into its content.
“We take the welfare of all our students and staff extremely seriously and the University constantly reviews and makes enhancements to its support services.
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“The University hosted two sessions on sexual consent in conjunction with local group Choices Aberdeen as part of student orientation this September and we will look to enhance this next year.
“As part of our commitment to empowering our community and enhancing the wellbeing of our members on and off campus, we launched the Report Support service in February which provides a ‘one-stop shop’ that signposts users to all relevant support services and to report any incidents of sexual violence or harassment.”
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