UKZN’s Young Academics Society Hosts Webinar Series on Consent
In celebration of Women’s Month, UKZN’s Young Academics Society (YAS) is hosting a weekly webinar series titled "FRIES: How to place an order?"
An acronym derived from the Planned Parenthood Association, FRIES describes consent as Freely-given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic and Specific.
The webinar series will feature facilitators and speakers from UKZN’s Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Committee, Social Work, the School of Law and Management Studies, Student Support Services, Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ), Campus HIV and AIDS Support Units (CHASU) and the Jes Foord Foundation.
Founder of the YAS, Ms Nosipho Funeka said the idea of the talk series came about after a controversial story about two public figures surfaced, where one accused the other of sexual assault which allegedly took place years ago. ‘The aim of this series is to start a conversation around consent so that people understand what it means to say - “No! Stop! I’m not in the mood, I’m not ready, I’ve changed my mind” or even to identify and understand body language that indicates discomfort,’ she said.
Awareness Campaign Co-ordinator for the Jes Foord Foundation, Ms Nqobile Hlongwane kicked off the conversation with an introduction to consent titled FRIES Anyone? She examined the different types of consent, namely: informed, expressed, non-verbal and unanimous and noted that it does not include unwanted conversations, harassment, threats, cornering, stalking, grabbing, touching, use of a weapon and hitting. She emphasised that sexual activity without consent is a crime and urged students to understand that “no means no”.
Titled How to order your FRIES, the second webinar looked at consent through the eyes of the South African legislature. Facilitator, lecturer in the School of Law and Chairperson of the GBV Committee, Ms Janine Hicks highlighted the importance of consent in the law. She stressed that consent must be given voluntarily and that the persons involved must understand what they are consenting to. ‘Consenting to a drink doesn’t mean a person is consenting to sex,’ said Hicks. She added that consent can be withdrawn at any time and noted that a person with limited capacity like mental illness or intoxication cannot be of sound mind to do so.
UKZN student and SLSJ member, Ms Mayenziwe Khoza also highlighted the importance of understanding the legal concept of consent. She noted that the legal age for minors to grant consent is 16 and examined the legal ramifications for persons found violating consent, including: common assault, intimidation, sexual assault and rape.
Lecturer in the School of Law, Ms Zamankwali Njobe discussed the ways in which consent can be justified in a court of law and classified these as being able to show that; a person was willing, consent was implied in a clear and obvious way, it was given prior to conduct, consent was given freely and that the participant knew what they were getting themselves into.
The FRIES webinar series will run every Wednesday at 12h30 during the month of August. Participants have the chance to win a cash prize of R500 in an exciting competition.
For more information on forthcoming themes, facilitators and presenters, visit the Young Academics Society Facebook page (@YASUKZN).
To join the Zoom meeting, click on the link below:
Meeting ID: 642 026 7585
Words: Hlengiwe Khwela