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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Sexplanations: Workplace issues and sexual assault awareness

Sexplanations is an anonymous Q&A column about sex, sexual health, sexuality, gender, relationships and the promotion of respect at Grinnell College. Questions are answered collaboratively by the Sexual Health Information Center (SHIC), the Stonewall Resource Center (SRC) and the Office of Wellness and Prevention. If you have a question or comment, submit it anonymously at or email [howeemil].

There’s someone in my on-campus job that is always rude to me. Their comments are rude and often aimed towards my gender and sexuality. I need the job, and I’m not sure if my boss will believe me or help me switch shifts. Is there anything that could be done?

First, I’m so sorry that’s happening to you and that you don’t feel safe and comfortable. I appreciate you reaching out to us. If you feel comfortable switching shifts or talking to your boss, you’re welcome to. Another option may be reaching out to the Title IX team. Title IX covers sexual discrimination which includes sexual harassment, as well as stalking, sexual violence, sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Part of working towards an educational environment free of sex-based discrimination includes creating a safe on-campus work environment. Thus, the Title IX team could help rearrange shifts so that the person who is harassing you is working a different shift from you. 

A campus no-contact order may also be beneficial. The Title IX office can support you through a number of different resources, including counseling and academic support. If you would like, you could also pursue a conduct case. As for any Title IX case, the cases are conducted by an outside agency.  If the person harassing you is doing so repeatedly, including through electronics and social media, this is defined as stalking. The same support and resources will be available from the Title IX office. 

This month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Is Grinnell doing anything?

Yes! A number of Grinnell organizations are collaborating to put together a number of events. The schedule will be officially unveiled next Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. in the Wellness Lounge during tea time. That same week, there will be a dinner for first years to reflect on the culture of sexual respect at Grinnell. On Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m., the Stonewall Resource Center and Title IX office are collaborating to bring alum Isabel Cooke ’16 to campus to discuss health communication. Isabel is a local sex educator in town who recently taught the Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sex and Sexuality curriculum to local middle school students. Her workshop will focus on communicating with a partner, particularly on difficult topics. The workshop will be interactive. The following week, on April 17 at 7:30 p.m., Mellisa Holtzman, a sociology professor from Ball State, will be presenting. Her work focuses on sexual assault prevention and programming. She has received numerous recognitions for her work. If you’d like to learn more, you can look up her TEDx Talk. 

Holtzman’s event is being sponsored by Title IX. Other events that are still being finalized include a viewing of “Together,” a film produced by a Bowdoin College graduate, on the experience of being a sexual assault survivor on small college campus similar to Grinnell. This event is sponsored by Grinnell Advocates. Intercultural Affairs and the department of gender, women’s and sexuality studies will be showing the documentary “Anita: Truth to Power,” followed by a roundtable discussion. Finally, there will be a number of active bystander trainings happening throughout the month, with one specifically focusing on the role of active bystanders on social media. Keep an eye out for more information and promotional materials coming soon! If you are interested in getting more information on these events or interested in helping, please reach out to Emily Howe at [howeemil2].

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