Feminist Club meets to discuss sexual violence


Alexa Bu

Feminist club gathers to learn about sexual violence during cardinal hour on Friday, Dec. 10. The club learned about what consent is, the warning signs of sexual violence and how to get help.

In order to raise awareness, Feminist Club met last Friday to discuss signs of sexual violence and to share resources for students in need of help.

President Phoebe Hulen led this event to inform Bellaire students about consent and healthy relationships. Hulen defined terms such as consent and different types of abuse so students would know what is normal in a relationship and what is not.

“Consent should be very clearly communicated, it’s a verbal and affirmative expression intended to help you and your partner understand each other’s boundaries,” Hulen said. “It cannot be given by individuals who are underage, intoxicated, or incapacitated by drugs.”

The Feminist Club aimed for the meeting to fight the connotation that consent is static. During Hulen’s presentation, she highlighted that consent can be withdrawn.

“You can change your mind at any time,” Hulen said. “Just because you give someone consent doesn’t mean they’re always allowed to do it.”

The meeting also educated students on spotting the physical and psychological signs of sexual assault. Those include changes in hygiene, development of new phobias, itching in the genitals and backbiting.

While Hulen emphasized that Feminist club is a safe space for students to share their experiences, she also explained that Jennifer Blessington, Feminist Club Sponsor, has an obligation to report sexual violence to the school if she hears of it.

Instead, Hulen suggested students who have experienced sexual violence go to the social workers at Bellaire such as Lara Hulin. If you have experienced violence, but are too scared to directly contact Lara Hulin, you may also ask Blessington to put you in touch with Hulin.

The warning signs that indicate someone is experiencing sexual abuse and how you can help. (Kate Griffiths)

During the meeting, Hulen also presented signs of abuse in partnerships. The main ones she highlighted were extreme jealousy, attempts to isolate you from your friends, and destroying your property. For more information, she suggested visiting Love Is Respect, which provides resources on drawing boundaries and aspects of a healthy relationship.

Blessington, English teacher, said that throughout her 17 years of teaching she has noticed many teenage relationships glamorize drama under the pretense that it represents a higher intensity of love. However, she disagrees with this belief.

“I’ve been married to my husband now for 21 years,” Blessington said. “Healthy relationships are actually kind of boring because there’s so much mutual respect and trust that you’re not going to have a lot of drama.”

Junior Zachary Johnson attended the event and felt that it provided key information.

“The meeting was very inspiring and I’m glad we talked about important topics of consent and abuse,” Johnson said. “It affects our friends and people we may not even know.”