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Taking a 'Yes Means Yes' message to bars in Saginaw

Sep 19, 2015

Coasters with sexual assault awareness messages are being distributed this month in Saginaw bars catering to a college age crowd.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

At 13 bars popular with local college students in Saginaw, bartenders are handing out sexual assault awareness messages along with the drinks.

The Saginaw County Sexual Violence Prevention Team and other groups have printed hundreds of bar coasters with sexual assault awareness messages in the form of popular songs with their lyrics slightly altered.

“For example, from the Spice Girls 'If you wanna be my lover, You gotta get my consent,' Dana Houston, team coordinator, reads some of the coasters, “We’ve got the Beach Boys 'I’m picking up Good Vibrations, She’s giving me Excitations, But I’ll still ask for consent just to be clear.'”

Houston says it’s about starting a conversation in a place where young people meet.  

She says they want to encourage a “Yes Means Yes” message.

“A lot of researchers in this field are trying to twist their campaigns as more of a 'Yes Means Yes,' so that you are always seeking enthusiastic participation and consent from your partners,” says Houston. “So don’t do it unless they are excited about it.”

The bar coaster campaign started at the beginning of the month. 

Houston says they plan on evaluating the campaign later this fall and will use some of that knowledge to design their next campaign in 2016.