In the final Coffee & Conversations discussion, students openly discussed sexuality, consent, and sex education taught in schools. Stephanie Spitz, campus victim advocate, hosted her final Coffee & Conversations event for the semester at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 10 in the Overman Student Center.
“Something I really wanted to gauge within my audience was when they first learned about sex, if they had comprehensive sex ed or if it was mostly just abstinence which by no surprise it was mainly abstinence only or not even talked about, also how rape culture is really perpetrated throughout when it comes to sex…” said Spitz
Spitz started the conversation by asking each individual at the event to discuss the type of sex education they received growing up. Most individuals received either abstinence only sex education or none and they told stories of fear tactics and the information, or lack of information, they received.
“…So a lot of audience members talked about sex in the context of fear like afraid of your own sexuality, afraid of even learning about it or even communicating about it or if you do have sex you’re going to get STD’s or unwanted pregnancies or we’ll only talk about the bad side of sex so rape and at the end of the day that does not sound like comprehensive sex education at all and if people aren’t educated, if they don’t know boundaries, they don’t know how to communicate said boundaries, then sexual violence is going to take place,”
The conversation was open and constant, with attendees actively engaging in constant conversation.
“I saw it on Facebook and I thought it would be interesting, I like education and caffeination early in the morning” said Jason Davis, senior in communications.
They discussed different forms of sex education each person learned and how the information they learned did not equal to what is taught in comprehensive sex education. Most students do not receive comprehensive sex education until college, which is not a mandatory schooling like middle school and high school is.
“Honestly I think it went really well, I love a chance when I get to just sit and listen to students or faculty or staff with whatever questions they have, truthfully I consider this like an AMA, an ask me anything, within this realm related so I can meet people where they’re at and kind of guide them along where the conversation I think should be,” Spitz said.
Expectations in sexual relationships and consent are key topics that Spitz believes everyone should have knowledge about. The conversation was open for discussion about different expectations in sexual relationships and how to ask for consent, Spitz countered the argument of ‘asking for consent not being sexy.’
“Today’s conversation I really wanted to spark around sex itself, sexpectations and consent is a little ambiguous for a reason because I wanted to cast a wider net to have a bigger audience attend, which did happen today which was exciting and talk about what sexpectations are, in my mind it was really kind of a morph of sex and expectations which leads into communications so how do we even communicate about sex itself” Spitz said.
The conversation discussed how rape culture is normalized in the media through songs and TV shows where they make rape jokes on comedies and the laugh track rolls instead of the characters seeming concerned. Spitz discussed a TV show where a woman made a joke that she and her husband engaged in sexual relations ‘while he was asleep’ to try to conceive a child, which is rape, but the show continued with the laugh track and they went on like it was never mentioned.
Alcohol-facilitated sexual assault led into this topic from the amount of songs that suggest giving someone more to drink so they will end up ‘consenting.’
“I enjoyed it, it’s nice to be able to share thoughts and be able to listen to other people,” Davis said.
Spitz provided pamphlets on supporting victims as well as information for victims and on sexual violence in general. There were also pamphlets on rape culture and more information on alcohol-facilitated violence. She also provided coloring sheets about consent.
“In the future I think more for the Fall I’m going to change the format and make it more in the afternoon so I can have a wider audience too, while I think it was great to do it this way I really want to try something else and go with the feedback I was given so I can continue to prove,” Spitz said.
The topic led towards toxic masculinity as well as toxic femininity and turned towards the army and how they combat sexual assault and rape while deployed.
“I think today we got across that it’s important to communicate your wants and needs sexually, it’s okay and healthy to have a sexuality and attraction, how to communicate your sexual wants and needs, how to respect others, how to respect victims if they come forward, and really how to understand rape culture and how that plays into how we treat one another and view one another and if we actually value and respect other humans,” Spitz said.