'Rock, Paper, Scissors, Kiss' game prompts concerns about consent on Cape Breton campus
It started as a YouTube phenomenon, with men challenging women to play the game
An adult variation on a children's game is cause for concern on the campus of Cape Breton University.
The new twist on the classic game, "Rock, Paper, Scissors" involves a man challenging a woman to play — and if the man wins, he gets to kiss the woman. It started as a YouTube phenomenon, with hundreds of videos showing men challenging young women on the street to the game, often titled as "kissing prank" videos.
John Mayich, the school's director of student affairs, said there is no issue if both parties clearly understand the rules of the game and are willing to participate.
The problem was that the young man who was trying to play the game didn't explain the rules to the young women he approached.
"It was brought to our campus security's attention," Mayich said. "There were a couple of complaints made about a student that was trying to get other students to participate in this game."
Unwanted touching against policy
Mayich said two female students said they were not aware of the rules about the kiss before they agreed to play.
Because no consent was given, the kissing violated CBU's Sexual Violence Prevention Policy.
"A hug that is unwanted can be considered harassment. A touch, a kiss, you know anything that really is unwanted," said Mayich.
"Ìt does seem innocent enough, however, the main point is that if unwanted, it's not innocent anymore."
Mayich said CBU is trying to promote a culture of consent on campus and he is glad that students came forward with their complaints.
The male student is required to undergo an education session as outlined in the school's respectful campus policy.
In a letter to students posted on the CBU website, consent is described as willingly agreeing to engage in specific sexual behaviour such as touching and kissing, and requires that a person is able to freely choose between two options: yes or no.
This means that each person must verbally agree to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.
It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to ensure clear responses are communicated at all stages of sexual engagement.