Two major universities in Singapore are making their students take compulsory modules on sexual consent and respect on campus.
This flurry of private parts policing activities come in the wake of public outrage over high profile voyeurism cases in both universities and the inadequate responses to the problem for many years before this.
What module are NUS students taking?
National University of Singapore (NUS) students are made to take an e-module called "Respect And Consent Culture".
To get them thinking about when it is appropriate to use their private parts with another person, plus a host of other issues relating to sex, sexuality, and what is considered appropriate in this day and age.
The e-module is in video form.
NUS said the module will not be graded.
However, answers provided by the students are recorded.
This is so that they can "review their own responses and prompt reflection as well as further thought and conversation".
What are NUS students supposed to learn?
Students are briefed that "consent can always be withdrawn".
And when that happens, "sexual activity after the withdrawal of consent constitutes sexual misconduct or assault, such as when the other party's initial 'yes' changes to a 'no' halfway through an activity".
Essentially, if there is no consent, you are a sex offender.
What is one such scenario?
Here is a scenario presented to students:
Woman likes man.
She goes to his room to study one day.
Man kisses woman. She reciprocates.
He then moves his hand up her leg, but she feels uncomfortable and pushes him away.
He becomes angry and feels she is "playing games" with him, especially when she admits she likes him when he questions her.
For this particular scenario, students are told just because the woman agreed to the kiss, "it does not necessarily mean she is ready for other intimacies", as reported by The Sunday Times.
In a jargon-laden response, an NUS spokesman told The Sunday Times that the issues addressed are "complex and nuanced": "Questions are designed to reinforce common values but also to provoke thinking, since many of these issues do not have obvious answers."
"The pedagogy employed in both modalities involves using realistic scenarios to stimulate self-reflection and tease out learning points."
How is module conducted?
The module is conducted online and requires students to pick answers.
Otherwise, there is the option of attending a 90-minute face-to-face workshop.
Face-to-face workshops are conducted by trained faculty members and staff.
The course has been rolled out for all students living on campus.
The rest of the students can complete the course in one year.
The e-module allows students to express their own views and receive feedback.
As there is no such thing as failing the course, at least one student interviewed by The Sunday Times said he/ she just picked any random answer to be done with it.
Students who take the NUS module will also be directed to the NUS Office of Student Affairs website with information that defines sexual misconduct and consent.
It also spells out the differences in definition between various examples of sexual misconduct, whether it is sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation or sexual contact.
Other scenarios examined include responses to a person's sexual orientation or to power relations between a student and a teaching assistant.
Students at Nanyang Technological University have started taking a similar module since July 2019.
New students completed the module during freshman orientation camps.
The rest of the students must complete the module in the current semester.
NTU's module is in video form.
There is also the option to go for a face-to-face workshop.
Information is also provided on what constitutes harassment, how to respond in such cases, and where to seek help.
The module also encourages intervention and how such actions can help in certain situations.
It is not graded but students must retake it if they give any wrong answers to the questions.
Students at the Singapore Management University will soon take a similar module on consent and respect that has been developed.
It will be out soon in the next few weeks.
Top photo composite taken from Unsplash and Pixabay with consent