Tuesday of Consent Week: Sexual Assault in Communities of Color


Bruin Consent Coalition’s Tuesday event for the second annual Consent Week joined together with Chai Talks, a safe space to discuss issues that affect the South Asian Community. The important communities agreements include: using “I” statements to ensure that no one feels attacked, respecting gender pronouns, and to listen to your body about triggers.

The Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center sent a volunteer, LaShonda, the leader of the college program, who stayed throughout Chai Talks to talk to anyone who may feel triggered if a topic becomes too heavy. The center offers free telephone consultation, medical care, counseling, and evidence collection 24 hours a day. The center will also have a table campus for the rest of the week for more information.

This Chai Talk focused on sexual assault in all communities of color. The presenter’s names have been removed from this article out of respect for their personal stories.

The first speaker stood in front of the group and shared her story. Her police officer told her that her case would be difficult because she “wasn’t raped in a bush.” She stated that the LAPD and UCPD did nothing to help solve her case. The officer on her case never picked up her rape kit and refused to move forward with prosecution; the officer was never punished for his negligence. The end of talk focused on how she wondered how women and men who were survivors of rape faired in India, where there is a lack of support like she experienced in America.

The next speaker used a PowerPoint titled, “Sexual Assault in South Asian Communities.” She focused on the topics of domestic violence (giving statistics in diaspora communities and how marriage is a binding contract), child abuse (how widespread incest is, over half of the children in India face a type of sexual abuse, and gender inequality in relation masculinity and abuse), and trafficking and war crimes (rape as a war crime). Focusing heavily on statistics and quotes, this speaker gave a broad overview about some of the serious issues that impact the South Asian countries, which are commonly overlooked in talks about sexual assault in America. She ended her presentation with a summary of what needs to be done to change how sexual assault is view, including breaking the silence and treating sexual violence differently. This PowerPoint will be available to be viewed online at the Chai Talks page.

The floor opened up to discussion after this PowerPoint. People brought up many important points for perspective:

It was only in 2012 America changed the law around marital rape, which does not make this country much better on this topic than the South Asian countries who have not changed their laws. American soldiers use rape as a tactic in war, just like many other countries. It is important to understand that America should not be put on a pedestal as an example of a perfect country in comparison to the rest of the world.

The talk ended with a large sheet of paper being laid across the floor, and everyone was asked to respond to the questions “What does sexuality look like when there is love and care” and “What does consent look like and feel like.”

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