'My clothes don't mean you'll get lucky': USU using St. Patrick's Day to teach about consent

Utah State University uses St. Patrick's Day to teach students about sexual consent.

Utah State University uses St. Patrick's Day to teach students about sexual consent. (Felicia Gallegos)


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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

LOGAN — Utah State University took St. Patrick's Day as an opportunity to educate its students on consent and healthy relationships.

Rather than a traditional St. Paddy's Day shindig with kissing booths adorning "Kiss me, I'm Irish" signs and buttons, there was an on-campus display that had mannequins wearing various types of clothing, sending the message that "My clothes don't mean you'll get lucky."

The event was put on by the university's Sexual Assault and Anti Violence Information Office, and led by outreach prevention coordinator Felicia Gallegos. Gallegos said that setting up the display on campus on St. Patrick's Day was done with the hope of starting conversations about things that are hard for many college students to talk about.

"There are many students who haven't ever had conversations like these before," Gallegos said. "Many come from homes where consent wasn't talked about, and it can lead to instances of sexual violence. It was important for us to find a way to connect with the students that isn't intimidating."

The display included four mannequins dressed in various clothing styles, and each was wearing a sign. One mannequin had on a tight green dress with a sign reading "My clothes don't mean you'll get lucky." Another was wearing a bikini with a sign that said, "My clothes aren't my consent." There was also one in sweats and an athletic shirt with a sign that said, "Not asking for it," and another in swim trunks, also telling the onlooker that his clothes are not his consent.

Gallegos said that while it was important to dress the mannequins in clothing that might be considered to be "immodest," doing so opened up the conversation that people can experience sexual violence wearing anything.

"There is an assumption that less clothing is provocative, and that people who wear that type of clothing are asking for it, but that's not the case," Gallegos said. "A woman wearing a tight dress, or a man wearing swim trunks does not mean they're asking for it. It's also important to let people know that people can experience sexual violence wearing anything, and that's where consent is so important no matter what the person is wearing."

Gallegos said that it was also important that the display represented both females and males because both can be victims of sexual violence.

In fact, according to Utah's Public Health Data Resource, sexual violence in Utah is a "serious public health problem." The data published in 2021 noted that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 25 men experience rape or attempted rape during their lifetime. The data also showed that nearly 1 in 3 women will experience some form of sexual violence during their lives.

Gallegos said that in most cases, these types of encounters happen in romantic relationships.

"This is not stranger danger; these things most often happen in romantic relationships, and even in marriage," Gallegos said.

The purpose of the event, she said, was to educate students on consent and let those who have or will experience sexual violence know that there are places to go for help.

"Utah State University is focused on creating a culture of informative consent," Gallegos said. "We are here to educate and provide support to those who have experienced sexual violence."

For more information on what Utah State University is doing, go to consent.usu.edu. The university also has a crisis hotline that students can call at 435-797-7273.

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting:

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Arianne Brown is a breaking news reporter for KSL.com. She also enjoys finding and sharing stories of everyday Utahns, a talent she developed over several years of freelance writing for various Utah news outlets.

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