Introducing Cultures of Consent

Dear Supporters,

Happy new year! Thank you for your support as we continue to develop our organization. As we look forward to the months ahead, we reflect on an exciting and transformative year for People Against Rape Culture (PARC). We've spent the last year and a half forging a vision for the cultural shift in consent, respect, and positive sexuality, and are excited to share our developments with you.

We came together in 2013 in response to the Steubenville High School rape case, and founded our organization with a goal to examine the culture-wide practices, beliefs, and institutions that reinforce a rape culture. We were inspired by the survivors, activists, and journalists who came together to bring light to rape and sexual assault epidemics in schools, the military, sports, the media, and other parts of society.  We sought to address the underpinnings of rape culture -  victim blaming, slut shaming, and harmful gender and sexuality norms.  We wanted to be a counter to this increasingly grim landscape.

However, we’ve realized we need to focus on the local community to grow into the most effective organization possible. Our vision is a world that no longer condones sexual assault, but we have taken stock of where we are needed and are excited to now focus our work on education to DC-area youth. In contrast to many other organizations focused on sexual assault prevention work, we will focus on the positive. We want to talk about what we are for, rather than what we are against. What we are for is illustrated in our new organization name- Cultures of Consent.  

Our new name reflects the shift in our approach to combat rape culture by promoting positive sexuality, the movement that identifies all consensual sex as healthy and good. Positive sexuality means no judgement about consensual sexuality, which leaves no room for practices and beliefs that allow for sexual assault and rape.

Our brand of sexual assault prevention work is centered around healthy sexual relationships and messages. Our age appropriate curriculum is focused on educating youth in deciding for themselves and negotiating with partners what kind of relationship is best for them. Our approach celebrates sexuality, providing a compelling buy-in to all audiences. We believe people have a universal desire for healthy and pleasurable relationships and are eager to acquire the tools needed to achieve them. We remain as committed as ever to combating rape culture, and will do so by promoting positive, healthy sexuality.

We want to use education to foster cultures of consent as opposed to cultures of shame, blame and harm. More than just wanting it, we're asking for it.  

Elizabeth Puloka
Executive Director