How well do you understand what rape culture means in society? Do you truly understand what it entails and the role that consent has? I conducted an interview with Uche Umolu, the founder and Executive Director of The Consent Workshop.
The Consent Workshop was originally formed in July 2018 after an online revolution asking sexual abuse survivors to voice their thoughts and name their abusers. They foster important dialogue on cultural attitudes about sex. By providing education and resources, they upset rape culture and allow youths to make healthier sex-positive decisions.
Uche not only oversees the team in Abuja but also that of Toronto. She was named one of Canada’s 2019 Young Innovators selected by United Nations Canada & British Council. She was also recognized by CIBWE as one of 100 black women to watch in Toronto 2019.
Here is what she has to say about deconstructing rape culture in society.
How would you define rape culture?
Rape culture is the institutions, elements and norms that allow sexual violence and abuse to thrive in our community. Rape culture is the cushion for sexual abuse essentially.
How is rape culture being perpetuated in society?
In all facets of life; through cultural values, beliefs, conversations and how we have shaped society. Each individual country has sub-elements that perpetuate it. For example, one could say in Nigeria, rape culture is perpetuated by the church and its dedication to purity culture.
How can we be more aware of our bias surrounding this?
We are aware of the existence of rape culture. I think the question should be geared towards what can we do to fix it? And that answer is more nuanced. Because rape culture is perpetuated by singular but connected elements, so there needs to be a joint effort in eradicating it. By individuals, the government through policies and reversing cultural norms.
Define consent in regards to rape culture?
Consent can be defined as the mutual decision between both parties to participate in any sexual/intimate activity.
How can we spread more awareness of what consent means?
-Defining it clearly. Particularly within laws.
-Making the definitions accessible to everyone, that is kids. Full comprehensive sexual education for children.
-Implement laws that lay out clear consequences for people who violate consent
-Engage and educate the community, and institutions to force consent.
For more information on The Consent Workshop, head over to their site here >> TheConsentWorkshop
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