During my senior year of high school I was raped by someone I was dating at the time. As a student in a private Catholic school, I felt I did not have the support from the faculty and staff to reach out for help because I didn't think any of them would believe me. I thought the faculty and staff would blame my actions instead of the actions of the person who raped me. I moved on and tried to leave the past behind me. Lucky for me, I was accepted into my dream school, Penn State. I had the opportunity to move clear across the country where I thought I would be safe.
Unfortunately, during my first year of college at Penn State, I was raped, again. This time I was in a fraternity house close to campus. I was assaulted by someone I genuinely trusted and spent a lot of my time with. While sitting in a Women’s Studies class, a woman from the local women’s resource center did a presentation about acquaintance rape. At that moment I was able to identify what happened to me. I always knew something felt very wrong about both situations but at the time I didn’t think it was rape. I thought rape only happened when a scary, bearded, old guy jumped out of the bushes and kidnapped someone. The truth is more than 90% of people who are raped knew the rapist before they were assaulted. That day, I learned that I fell into the 90% both times.
After sharing my experiences with some close friends I realized I was not alone. The more people I shared my story with the more people opened up about their experiences at home, at school, and across the world. I realized very quickly that I needed to speak up and address this horrendous act of violence. I felt like my power and control had already been taken away from me. I thought speaking up about what happened to me was the only way I could gain it back. One day, while I was sitting in my dorm room I decided to take my ideas and put them into action. With the support of a good friend of mine, Grace, who listened, believed my story, and shared her story, we decided to take action. A few months later Only With Consent came to fruition.
Meet Jasmin: Founder, Executive Director & Board of Directors Chairperson
I am a California girl with a head and heart focused on helping others. I graduated from Penn State with a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Communication Arts and Sciences and a minor in Women’s Studies. I am passionate about changing the world and look forward to educating people about the the importance of consent and the realities of sexual violence. Sexual Assault is traumatizing and life changing and I want to teach people about that so they see the importance of asking for consent. While I have been able to speak up about what happened to me, it does not take away from the long days and nights that I have had to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the heartbreak I’ve experienced over the years, and the long period of time I felt worthless because of what happened to me. I have learned a lot about myself through this journey. Most importantly, I learned that with time, I have come out of the horrific experiences as a stronger woman. I will teach about consent every day of my life to try to ensure the safety of people across the globe.
Meet Mike: Director of Education & Board of Directors Vice Chair
I grew up in Pennsylvania, where I learned the value of helping others and volunteering from my family. The experiences that I had lead me to Penn State where I continued to volunteer wherever I could, and pursued a degree in Kinesiology. While at Penn State, I met the amazing Jasmin Enriquez. Her passion for changing the world was inspiring and was like a vortex that attracted some amazing people. Many of those amazing people helped Only With Consent reach the point that it is today. I can’t thank them enough, and I am glad to see people from all different backgrounds stand up and say that sexual violence is unacceptable.
I try to bring perspectives to this cause as partner of a survivor, an advocate, and an educator. I am not a survivor, but I am here to be a friend, a resource, a supporter, and an ally. I am optimistic in the future of Only With Consent and I am ready to be on the front lines of upsetting rape culture and generating consent culture.
Meet Najaah: Board of Directors Treasurer
Meet Julia: Board of Directors Secretary
I was born and raised in a suburb of Akron, Ohio. I graduated in 2011 from The University of Akron with a Bachelor's degree in English and minor concentrations in Spanish and Professional Writing. I was raped in my dorm the 2nd weekend of my freshman year, completely changing the course of my college experience. The subsequent events of that crime, which ended in court with a plea deal of "guilty" a year and a half later, led me to realize the importance of speaking out in light of injustice and fighting for the rights of others. I hope that creating a dialogue will remove the stigmas of assault that victims face, allowing education and understanding to reach the people who most need it. In 2014, I was invited to participate in the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault through the Office of the Vice President, where I met Jasmin. I speak on college campuses and to Greek life, shattering the silence and working to prevent sexual assault.
Thank you Grace, Tom, Madeline, Abby, Spencer, Melissa, Jennifer, and everyone else who believed in Only With Consent and from the very beginning. You're support is our foundation!