Our relationships with other people have always been one of the most important factors influencing our mental health and overall wellbeing. For many, Valentine’s Day offers a special opportunity to celebrate the love, affection, and friendship we experience through the relationships in our lives. Valentine’s Day is also the perfect time to discuss safe and healthy relationships, promote a culture of consent, and prevent harmful behaviors so that everyone can live safely and freely.
Join UW–Madison in supporting the cultivation of caring, healthy relationships across our campus, and the importance of boundaries across your campus relationships: with friends, romantic partners, work associates, and roommates. Everyone deserves loving relationships where their boundaries are respected. We all deserve a safe, consensual sexual life and a campus free of violence.
This Valentine’s Day, take time to reflect on your needs and expectations in relationships, and if your current connections are meeting those needs. Consider using the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center’s Relationship Checklist or Dating Bill of Rights to help you determine what you want, need, and deserve in your close relationships.
Keep in mind that healthy relationships depend on a few key elements: honest communication, boundaries, trust, mutual respect, and support for one another. While we are putting healthy relationships at the forefront of our celebration of Valentine’s Day, we also need to talk about creating a culture of consent.
Consent culture normalizes the regular practice of asking for permission and respecting an individual’s personal boundaries and bodily autonomy. We create a healthy culture of consent when we value the feelings of the people we are interacting with and respect each other’s boundaries in every interaction.
Consent is also an important aspect of sex and intimacy, even in long-term relationships. Deciding if you want to have sex, when you want to have sex, and what kind of sex you want to have, are all things that should be discussed and agreed upon in a healthy relationship. You always have the right to say no.
At UW–Madison, we honor consent and boundaries in all relationships that are part of our lives. Boundaries in friend, work, roommate, and dating relationships are all part of a healthy culture of consent.
Check out Healthy Relationships from GSCC for additional information and perspectives on how to ‘do’ relationships, communication, and more. University Health Services (UHS) Survivor Services offers confidential, no-cost support services for UW–Madison student survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking.
We hope you celebrate the people you love and care about in your own unique ways this Valentine’s Day.
Looking for something to do on campus to celebrate? Here are some great ideas:
Get your loved ones a beautiful card made by the talented graphic designers at StudentPrint! They’re only $3.99 and come with an envelope. Stop by StudentPrint on the 3rd floor of the Student Activity Center on East Campus Mall to get one for the big day!
Saturday, Feb. 12 — WUD Film presents Romeo + Juliet
For Valentine’s weekend, WUD Film presents a modernized retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. The Marquee Cinema, Union South. Assistive Screening Accommodations for Patrons with Disability.
Monday, Feb 14 – Join the GSCC for Black Queer Love Film Fest
Drop by as we watch movies centering Black queer love stories. We’ll have themed snacks and crafts! The line-up is 10:00am Moonlight, 12:00pm Rafiki, 1:30pm Saturday Church, and 3:00pm Noah’s Arc “Jumping the Broom.” All films screened with captions.
Tuesday, Feb. 15 — Join the GSCC at Pal-entine’s Day Speed Friending.
Brighten your Valentine’s Week with queer friendship! Fun games and wonderful company to be expected. 5 – 6:30 p.m. over Zoom. Accommodations? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-265-3344.