SEX 101 WEEK RAISES LEVEL OF CONVERSATION


Signs at the #GotConsent Photobooth that read, “Cosplay is not consent,” “Silence is not consent,” and “Whatever I wear, wherever I go, yes means yes & no means no.” Cosplay is when participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character or idea. (Marco Polo/Clarion)

The third annual Sex 101 Week provided many educational opportunities for students to educate themselves on sexual relationships, assault and consent.

Sex 101 Week brought important sexual issues and lessons to the students, with such events as TED Talks, documentaries, guest speakers and a hands-on self-defense class.

The first day of Sex 101 Week kicked off with a TED Talks video titled “Sex Needs A New Metaphor. Here’s One,” with guest speaker Al Vernacchio, a sexuality educator at Friends’ Central, a private Quaker school just outside Philadelphia, who contends that popular sports metaphors used for sex need to be changed.

Vernacchio suggests that baseball terms used to describe sex (batter up, round the bases, play to win) make sex feel like a competition to be won or lost. He suggests substituting pizza-like comparisons instead: Am I hungry; What’s your pleasure; Are we satisfied, which are associated with positive experiences.

The second day featured a short docudrama titled “Speak Out & Stand Up: Raising Awareness About Sexual Assault,” hosted by actress Kristen Stewart.

The video focused on how, in most sexual assault cases, the victim knows the attacker. In fact, it is very rare that a complete stranger commits sexual assault. The video also stresses the differences between what is and what is not consent. It emphasizes that victims should not be afraid to come forward and report assault.

After the first screening of this video, the #GotConsent Photobooth & Chalk Art was set up in the Campus Center mall. The booth was filled with hats, sunglasses and signs with messages that read, “Silence is not consent,” “Whatever I wear, wherever I go, yes means yes & no means no,” and “Cosplay is not consent.” Chalk art surrounded the booth, with messages that read “Don’t rape,” “Silence ≠ Consent,” “No = No,” and “Did you ask first?”

The booth was soon abuzz with activity, as students and their friends lined up for photos. Others knelt down to write their own chalk messages that read, “Don’t rape,” and “Did you ask first,” on the sidewalk.

Just before noon, the improv duo Sex Signals, featuring actors Jordan Nia Puryear and Derante Parker, performed on the Campus Center stage, acting out multiple situations and interacting with the audience, asking for feedback on how the situation was going.

Audience participation was high. Puryear and Parker took suggestions on how certain scenes should play out and how “masculine” and “feminine” each character should be.

They elicited comments on how far was too far in some scenes, explored what constitutes consent, what behaviors are stereotypically expected of each gender, and how to change misguided sexual dialogue.

Day two activities also included guest speakers John and Linda Bartelt, professors of human sexuality at Citrus College, exploring healthy sexual relationships, sexual terminology, consent, and other related topics.

“We are raised, we are inculturated, we are indoctrinated subtly to accept abuse,” said John Bartelt. “We are subtly told these things when we are growing up. We need to separate them.”

Wednesday’s activities began with a seminar titled “Mythbusters: Dispelling Common Myths Around Sex, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Birth Control,” hosted by Rosanna Cacace from Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley in Altadena.

Cacace asked the audience questions about sex and whether they were true or false, such as how STIs can be passed from partner to partner, how birth controls work and how to effectively use condoms.

“It’s uncomfortable for us to have these conversations, but it’s so necessary, especially within the context of a healthy sexual relationship,” Cacace said. “Communication is key.”

Thursday featured a screening of director Kirby Dick’s “The Hunting Ground,” a controversial documentary that focuses on sexual assault on American college campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families.

The audience reacted with shocked gasps and murmurs as the film provided statistics that seemed unreal but were in fact the ugly truth.

“The Hunting Ground” was arguably the most emotional event during Sex 101 Week this year, as it brings attention to an often neglected subject: how do authorities deal with campus sexual assault and why is it handled this way?

Immediately following the screening of the film, Campus Safety presented a brief follow up, informing the audience on how to report sexual assaults, what is consent, and whom to call with questions. Speaking to the audience was Ben Macias, Campus Safety supervisor, along with Title IX coordinator Brenda Fink, and Shauna Gorham-Bigby, director of the Student Health Center.

The final event of Sex 101 Week was a gender-inclusive self-defense class, led by Frankie De Guzman, deputy probation officer of LA County.

Sex 101 Week is sponsored by the Associated Students of Citrus College, and was organized by Sara Acevedo, ASCC commissioner of activities, and Adrienne Thompson, Student Life supervisor.

“If we could keep this going every year with an evolving and relevant outlook, I would feel like Citrus College would be in great hands,” Acevedo said.

To contact Campus Safety about assaults or to report other problems, please call or text (626) 914-8611 or go to the Campus Safety office on the west end of campus, at the entrance of the parking lot on Citrus Avenue. The Student Health Center may be reached at (626) 914-8671. The SHC office is located on the first floor of the Student Services Building on the west end of campus.

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