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Delta Sigma Theta presents forum on consent and sexual abuse

February 22, 2018

 

TAMARIA WILLIAMS
Staff Reporter | tmw055@latech.edu

 

Before Mardi Gras break and in regards to Valentine’s Day, students got the opportunity to engage in conversation at a consent forum and panel discussion hosted by Delta Sigma Theta.

 

The forum, held on Feb. 8 at the University Hall Auditorium, included a guest speaker and representative from the Domestic Abuse Resistance Team organization from here in Lincoln Parish. Following the speaker, there was a panel discussion on consent, domestic violence and sexual abuse that included four student panelists.

 

Lovely Wilkerson, a senior kinesiology major and member of Delta Sigma Theta, said it was the first time the sorority has hosted a forum like this at the school.

 

“We wanted to talk about something that was serious,” she said. “The main focus was to inform students that anything can happen to anyone. Tech is a small campus, but there’s still cases of stuff happening.”

 

Wilkerson gave the panelists and the audience a chance to voice their opinions by giving them different scenarios that revolved around consent.

 

“Instead of it being just informative, we turned it into something informative and interactive,” she said. “A lot of people are now aware that it can happen anywhere to anyone. It needs to be talked about. If you don’t know, someone has to tell you.”

 

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, women ages 18 to 24 are at an elevated risk of sexual violence. Statistics also show that 8 percent of sexual assault happens on school property.

 

Wilkerson said the sorority wanted to address the negative side of Valentine’s Day with the forum.

 

“We wanted to open people’s eyes,” she said. “You have this intel, now what? The next step is yours. What are you going to do?”

 

Akeylah Wellington, a sophomore studio art major, said she felt the structure of the forum was done well.

 

“I think that it was effective,” she said. “I think conversations like this need recurring conversation.”

 

Wellington also served as one of the panelists for the discussion segment of the forum.

 

“As we move into the 21st century more and more, there is a danger of looking at people as commodities or looking at people as accessible or objects,” she said. “That’s so much more than what we are.”

 

Wellington said she thought it was important for both men and women to be aware of what’s out there as far as dating and relationships go.

 

“This is just a step in a very long walk,” she said.

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