Posts Tagged sexuality education
I’ve been teaching sexuality education to teens for a decade now. In that time, I’ve seen a huge shift in the way young women respond to the issue of date rape, although almost no change in the way young men respond.
The date rape lesson in Our Whole Lives for high school students takes the form of the story of a date told from the perspective of each person. Participants divide into two groups, each with one version of the story, which they read aloud. The basic facts of the date are the same in each account – they go to dinner, drink a bottle of wine, go back to his room at the frat house, drink some more, play music, dance, get partly undressed, make out. It’s at this point the stories diverge radically – his version ends with them having sex, her version with her being raped. After reading the story, participants answer a series of questions which include “What could he/she have done to change the outcome of the evening?”
There’s a major discussion happening right now about sexual assault on college campuses (i.e. it’s made the NY Times; some other posts and articles here, here, here and here). The basic shape of the conversation can be described fairly simply:
Rape and sexual assault are already underreported crimes. Students on college campuses are victims of rape and sexual assault on a regular basis; college campuses nationwide engage in efforts to minimize reporting of sexual assault on campus and take minimal actions against perpetrators. New regulations are shining a light on the situation.
The consensus seems to be that colleges aren’t doing enough to protect students from sexual assault and aren’t doing enough with regard to punishing perpetrators; it seems to me the worst a college can do is expel a perpetrator and even then they run risks they may prefer to avoid. As I think about this issue, it seems that colleges are trying to thread the needle with regard to legal liability – in the absence of specific knowledge about specific threats to a student from/by another student, they can’t take any action; they can’t expel a student because he might rape someone. Without evidence, they can’t punish a student. In many cases, victims can’t identify the perpetrators. Read the rest of this entry »