Project No Red Zone

“The main goal of Project No Red Zone is to highlight and make-known to all students the resources available to survivors of sexual violence on campus.”

During lunch in Usdan for the past few weeks, folks from the WSA and others have been tabling about Project No Red Zone, an initiative that began last year as an effort to raise awareness about campus sexual assault and resources on campus to support survivors. The project also aims to help promote a culture of consent on campus.

In the Facebook event for Project No Red Zone, organizers of the event posted 8 action items that anyone on campus can do to help promote a culture of consent:

  1. Watch this video about consent.
  2. Spread the word: “Just because we texted, sexted, or messaged all night, doesn’t mean I owe you.”
  3. Attend a training hosted by the organizers.
  4. “Read this zine made by Jennie He ’16 and start opening up conversations with your friends, partners, teammates, roommates about the difference between consent and coercion!”
  5. Spread the word: “NEITHER past consent NOR a past relationship indicates current or future consent!”
  6. “Think about consent phrases that make you and your partner(s) feel safe, comfortable, and great! Asking for consent is serious and essential– but it can also be fun. Here are some silly examples.
  7. “Think about—and encourage others to consider—how to hear, accept, and understand ‘no!‘”
  8. “Spread the word that coercion is NOT consent!”

I reached out to WSA President Nila Ravi ’18 for more information on the aims and logistics of the initiative. Here’s what she had to say:

This year the WSA is once again launching “Project No Red Zone,” an initiative to help spread awareness of resources for survivors of sexual assault and promote a culture of consent on campus. We introduced the project last year after Rebecca Hutman ’17, the previous WSA President, met Jess Davidson, a former Vice President of the University of Denver Student Assembly. Jess started Project No Red Zone at UD in 2015, and we have adopted many of its foundational components in our implementation of PNRZ at Wesleyan.

The red zone is the first six weeks of school where students are most vulnerable to sexual assault and violence. For frosh in particular this time can be overwhelming. A lot of information is shared with first-years and there isn’t time for as many important in-depth conversations about what consent actually is. They may not know how to effectively speak to each other and their partners, and people may find themselves in unanticipated scary situations. Therefore, the main goal of Project No Red Zone is to highlight and make-known to all students the resources available to survivors of sexual violence on campus.

This is also a time when frosh are eager to find their home in extracurricular groups and, in the next few weeks, student group leaders will be helping them learn and acclimate to “the way things are” at Wes. As they do so, we hope they get involved with PNRZ so that they are knowledgable of resources and can create a culture of consent within smaller communities on campus.

Additionally, we are making posters with the names, faces, and phone numbers of students on campus who have undergone bystander intervention training and are quite knowledgable of the available resources on campus. We are hoping to distribute the posters to various social spaces on campus. Therefore, if someone feels unsafe while they are out partying, they can reach out to one of us and we will assist them in whatever capacity they need us to. If you are a senior or resident of a program house that hosts parties, please keep these posters up during any social event you may be hosting throughout the year.

Please join us and help the community practice consent and support survivors not only during this critical time but also for the rest of the year. We will be tabling in Usdan during lunchtime, so please stop by, grab a PNRZ button, and learn more! Also, if you are on Facebook, attend our event to receive important and informational updates!

Here’s a list of core people to contact:

Nila Ravi ’18, nravi[at]wesleyan[dot]edu

Jackie Manginelli ’19, jmanginellie[at]wesleyan[dot]edu

Marty Rubin ’18, mrubin[at]wesleyan[dot]edu

Tina Glusac ’18, cglusac[at]wesleyan[dot]edu

Rachele Merliss ’19, rmerliss[at]wesleyan[dot]edu

While Project No Red Zone is named after the first 6 weeks of school, when students are statistically most likely to experience a form of sexual violence, it is important to note that cultures cannot change without continuous conversation and that resources and policies should be responsive to the needs of survivors currently on campus.

If you haven’t already, attend a bystander intervention training. If you already have, consider doing this again! Everyone could always use a refresher. If you live in a house or manage a space/group, encourage the members of your student group or your housemates to do bystander intervention training together!