Sex week


Julie Spierer, Special Features Editor

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The second annual Sex Week, hosted by Speak UP, was held the week of Valentine’s Day from Feb. 12-18, and included a series of events, workshops, and lectures surrounding the topics of sexuality and consensual sex. As well as facilitating discussions about consent and healthy relationships, the events highlighted beneficial lifestyle choices and addressed safety precautions to consider.

Supervised by the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator Rachel Stewart, Speak UP is a peer education group comprised of student volunteers who ultimately aim to prevent sexual misconduct and emphasize the positive bystander model.

The organization promotes the idea that everyone is in a position to play a role in ending sexual violence on the University’s campus by teaching students how to react in situations that could potentially signal a sexual assault. Sex Week is important, in this sense, because it has the power to educate all students through awareness campaigns and informative sessions.

“My favorite part of the week is hearing about all the conversation it generate— there can be a lot of taboos around these topics, which can lead to people making decisions out of fear or lack of understanding, rather than knowledge, empowerment, and true choice,” Stewart said.

The events

In addition to a photo booth, free buttons, T-shirts, and giveaways in the Elaine Langone Center (ELC), Speak UP and other campus organizations aspired to collaborate for a week comprised of a wide array of interesting events.

Events on Feb. 12 included a free and confidential STI clinic at Student Health that students were encouraged to visit, as well as the “Sex Olympics” at Uptown, where students engaged in fun and educational games with prizes.

Feb. 13 saw an event entitled “Sex & Chinese Food: Jewish Views on Sex,” which took place at the Berelson Center for Jewish Life. Dinner was provided, sponsored by Jewish Life and Hillel. Following this was a “Senior Sex Panel,” which was held in Trout Auditorium where seniors and a few members of other class years were asked to “get real” and answer questions about hook-up culture, consent, and relationships at the University. This event was sponsored by Speak UP.

The Women’s Resource Center sponsored “Blurred Lines: Lyrics and Questions of Consent,” on Feb. 14 where students were encouraged to discuss consent and its presence, or lack thereof, in popular music. The University’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance also presented “Asexual and Aromantic Valentines” in the ELC Mall from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Feb. 15 welcomed speaker Ignacio Rivera to present “Hooking Up: Sex, Power, and Consent,” a workshop where casual sex, hookup culture, the idea of consent, and safety were discussed.

Students will gather on Feb. 16 in the ELC forum at 6 p.m., where all of the University’s a cappella groups will sing sex positive songs in a riff-off.

On Feb. 18, the final day of Sex Week, the school will welcome social activist Tarana Burke, the founder of the “Me Too” movement, to the Weis Center at 7 p.m. for a presentation entitled, “What’s Next in Activism and Healing.” Burke wanted to start the movement to demonstrate the immense prevalence of sexual assault and harassment around the world. The phrase was coined to help survivors to recognize that they are not alone, attributing a quantitative nature to the widespread issue.

Never alone

A large part of the week is attributing magnitude to the problem of sexual harassment and sexual assault. It encourages individuals to recognize that they are never the only ones carrying the burden of sexual misconduct.

“I think that normalizing these conversations can help make great strides in health, wellness, and safety of our students, in so many different ways, [including] reinforcing the ideas of consent and that you can always say ‘no,’ helping students explore the ideas of sexual orientation and gender identity, or [even] providing more information about safer sex options so students are fully prepared to protect themselves for the types of activities they [may] want to engage in,” Stewart said.

The University provides a myriad of confidential resources, including the Advocates, the Counseling and Student Development Center, University Student Health, and the University Chaplains. If students are seeking additional resources, they may also contact the Title IX Coordinator Kate Grimes, Public Safety, the Local Police, the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator, Rachel Stewart, Evangelical Community Hospital, or the local crisis center, Transitions.

“I’d say that we are trying to ensure that all students are empowered with the knowledge they need to make the best and most informed choices for themselves about consent, relationships, and sex,” Stewart said of the week.

“My favorite part about Sex Week is that it’s intersectional, what I mean by that is we bring together as many campus organizations as we can to participate in the week’s events. We look at sex positivity, safe sex, consent, healthy relationships and more from all kinds of view points, considering in race, sexuality, genders, cultures, and more. We had a Student Sex Panel and nine students of different backgrounds, identities and experiences came in and told their stories within the Bucknell hookup culture. I hope everyone comes to the events and learns a lot,” Speak UP Events Coordinator Megan Ganning said.

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