Sarah Crawford, 31, sexual violence prevention and harm reduction coordinator and founder of Project Lighthouse Photo credit: Meara Belanger

Project Lighthouse hosted its annual Q-and-A at the Algonquin College residence SA Lounge at 7 p.m. Friday.

Project Lighthouse is a program which aims to inform about sexual health and consent and prevent sexual violence on campus.

“The whole point of sex is to have fun and to feel good,” said Sarah Crawford, 31, the program’s founder, to a room full of diverse students sitting in a circle around her. Crawford is the sexual violence prevention and harm reduction coordinator at Algonquin College and founder of Project Lighthouse.

The session was geared towards answering questions about sexuality, sexually transmitted infection prevention, consent and stigma.

“It helps me because I’m able able to help others with it too,” said Caitlin Bauer, 20, a second-year social services placement student in attendance.

There are events like this hosted at the residence every semester. According to Crawford, the turn out usually includes a mixture of students from all walks of life, including many international students.

Project Lighthouse runs events year-round, but at the start of a new term they become more frequent. Over the first eight weeks of fall and the first four weeks of winter they focus mainly on sexual violence prevention.

“They’re away from home for the first time, they’re learning about drinking and alcohol and other drugs,” said Crawford, of her student participant. “So, really, we’re just trying to educate them about consent and dating and healthy relationships, substance abuse, sort of when they first start out so they can get more aware.”

The Q-and-A session featured questions submitted both anonymously by paper and asked verbally. To entice attendees, there were free nachos and even a sex toy giveaway.

The questions ranged from, “do I need to use a condom if I don’t want to?” to, “what does an orgasm feel like?” Although this particular meeting shifted the conversation away from sexual violence, Crawford believes candid discussions about sexuality will help reduce related assaults on campus.

“They ask questions and I can kind of tailor it to consent,” said Crawford. “Obviously not everyone is comfortable talking about sex, and that’s okay. The reason we talk about consent and healthy sex is it’s really just a way of sexual violence prevention. We just want people to know that we’re a resource they can use.”

In the midst of the #MeToo movement, the dialogue surrounding consent is one that is happening everywhere. Crawford’s goal is to reduce the stigma surrounding sex and to create a safer campus for all students.

“We’re trying to empower people to listen to their partner and ask for what they want,” Crawford explained. “We’re hoping that understanding what a healthy relationship is will help end sexual violence.”

For more information about Project Lighthouse and the resources they offer, visit the link below.