Panelist At Sexual Violence Forum Urges Wesleyan To Implement Consent Policy

The Hartford Courant

A Wesleyan University graduate and rape survivor who spoke during an anti-violence forum Tuesday urged her alma mater to implement a campus policy that would require students to seek consent from each other before having sex.

The policy, known as "enthusiastic consent," would help send a message against rape, said Jaclyn Friedman, who said she was raped 18 years ago by another student while she was a junior at Wesleyan.

"There should be a community standard — we will not allow [rape] on campus," she said.

Friedman, of Somerville, Mass., was one of four women who spoke during a forum at Wesleyan titled "The Person You Think You Know: Signs and Solutions of Campus Violence." Friedman is executive director of Women, Action & the Media and a charter member of CounterQuo, a national coalition that seeks to challenge the way society responds to sexual violence.

The Courant and Fox 61 organized the event and another one on teen dating violence in February in memory of Alice Morrin, a Fox 61 employee who was slain by her husband on June 28. Morrin's husband, James Morrin, also killed himself that day.

The forum also had a personal connection for the Wesleyan community, which mourned the death of a student, Johanna Justin-Jinich, 21, who was killed in an off-campus bookstore on May 6.

During the forum, Janet Peckinpaugh — a former 30-year broadcast journalist and founder of Peckinpaugh Media Group — spoke about her experiences as the victim of stalking and domestic violence as a young woman.

"It's tough to speak about this," she told the audience. "Here I am 40 years [later], still feeling very much like a victim."

But Peckinpaugh also read an e-mail she received from Eric Justin, Justin-Jinich's uncle, who described the forum as "incredibly important."

"In my role as communications 'officer' for our family in our time of distress I found myself having to tell this awful news to far too many people," Justin wrote.

"I found myself repeatedly thinking why does this happen so often? What [makes] some men, too many men, treat women with such contempt and hatred?"

Connie Kirkland, director of sexual assault services at George Mason University in Virginia and a national expert on campus stalking, talked about the importance of reporting stalking.

"The best way to end stalking is to get police involved," Kirkland said.

Claire Potter, a Wesleyan professor of American studies and history who studies violence against women, said people in positions of power need to tell rape victims that they have been victimized to help motivate them to report the crime.

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