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The Scarlet & Black

Sexplanations: Sexual respect and quality programming

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].

I don’t go to Harris or Gardner on weekends. I don’t feel like sexual respect events or information apply to me. Should it?

Sometimes, sexual respect is only talked about when it fails. Harris and Gardner events on weekends are times we associate with when we need more sexual respect. However, sexual respect doesn’t start failing at 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night as you walk into Gardner Lounge. What sets the stage for sexual respect on those evenings is the conversation on Thursday afternoon about weekend expectations. It starts in the dorms when we think about access to condoms and it starts in class discussions. You might not feel like sexual respect matters to you, but how you act contributes to the culture of sexual respect on campus. So my question to you is, how are you contributing? Are there assumptions you make about people based on gender? What kind of language are you using? Are you using consent for everyday interactions such as hugging, touching someone’s shoulder or asking if you can join someone in doing something? Are you being a healthy partner in your relationships, including your friendships by communicating thoroughly or being aware of each other’s needs?

It is really important to think about sexual respect on Friday evenings, but sexual respect matters to everyone all the time. If you want to talk more about why it matters, reach out to a student leader like a SAM, Peer Educator, CA, [Jacobsen], [howeemil2] or attend an upcoming event on sexual respect.

Upcoming events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month:

Anita Hill Documentary Screening & Roundtable Discussion. April 23, 7 p.m., JRC 209

The gender, women’s and sexuality studies program, the Office of Wellness and Prevention and Office of Intercultural Affairs will be screening the 2013 documentary “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power.” Angela Onwuachi-Willig ’94, chancellor’s professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, will provide opening remarks on the documentary. After the screening, we will have a roundtable discussion on how intersecting identities impact sexual respect and sexual assault. Refreshments will be served.

Together: a Film about College Students, Survival, and Sexual Violence. April 25, 7 p.m., Loose Lounge

Grinnell Advocates and the Office of Wellness and Prevention will be showing “Together,” a film about being a sexual assault survivor on a small college campus. “Together” shares the stories and experiences of students, and while they don’t represent every experience, the filmmakers hope to educate others to focus on the validity of each story and that sexual violence affects all of us directly or indirectly. People at all stages of change are encouraged to attend this event and reflect on the impact of the experience on a small college campus.

Active Bystanderism & Social Media Workshop w/ Langston Thomas ’20 and Sydney Steinle ’18. April 28, 3 p.m., CRSSJ Prayer Garage

This active bystander workshop will focus on how to be an active bystander online, especially around issues of social justice. It is peer led by CA Sydney Steinle ’18 and Peer Educator Langston Thomas ’20. This workshop will help you develop new active bystander skills in the context of social media, and is for all levels of knowledge on active bystanderism. No prior experience with active bystanderism necessary. Refreshments will be provided.

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