The Women’s and Pride Centers are using the month of April to educate students and faculty on sex education. A very wide-ranged topic, there is a focus on anatomy, gender, masturbation and more topics that may be difficult to talk about.
Events through the month cover a wide range of topics for SRU members to get involved in, including sex education displays, religion and sexuality, environmental injustice and even more.
Kendra Claypool, a graduate assistant who works at the Women’s and Pride Centers, spoke about their want for diverse conversations.
“We think it’s important to showcase diverse panels and educate our students on different topics,” Claypool said. “We’ve just been able to see how powerful they can be on educating and opening their eyes to diversity, and we think that’s really important for our students.”
Discussion revolving around sex can be very uncomfortable for most people as people have different exposures to the discussion. Claypool gives advice for how to get over the hurdle of discomfort.
“You have to get uncomfortable to get comfortable,” said Claypool.
This discomfort comes from people of different backgrounds and lack of exposure to diversity. Lyosha Gorshkov, assistant director of the Pride and Women’s Centers, spoke about this separation in culture.
“The problem is that people who come to campus, they don’t have that background and we are trying to move towards diversity and inclusion,” Gorshkov said. “Without basic education on sex and sexuality, you cannot be inclusive because you deny and suppress the very identities of others.”
Educating those at the level of higher education has proved to be a a challenge because of lack of education up to this point in many people’s lives. That, combining with many social issues of the time, makes sex a challenge to talk about.
Difficult doesn’t mean impossible and that is why these conversations will continue at SRU. Desolina Valenti, a student worker at the Pride and Women’s Centers, spoke about challenging people’s mindsets towards these topics.
“If people already have a set of ideas that they believe, that can definitely be hard to change their minds and get them to even want to look into [learning] more,” Valenti said. “But if you can, I think if we can even get these people to just . . . have that ‘Oh!’ moment, they may think ‘Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I need to look at this more.'”
No one can be blamed for the way they were raised, we all have been heavily influenced by patriarchal culture. It is our own duty to challenge our beliefs and educate ourselves on these topics. SRU faculty and students have these resources to educate themselves, they just need to make that leap to learn.
Learning doesn’t mean destroying the core beliefs you were raised on, but challenging those beliefs. Gorshkov touched on this by saying, “We’re not trying to deconstruct and destroy. . . We’re trying to balance, and we definitely respect every single person in that regard.
“Nobody’s trying to provoke, we’re just trying to bring more resources of everything.”
Challenging your views is difficult, but not impossible. Valenti gives a piece of advice to anyone who may want to take those steps, but doesn’t know where to start.
“If people are willing to change, just go to an event you don’t know what it’s about. Go to it and learn about it,” Valenti said. “Go to events, expand your knowledge, and do your own research if you want to change. You have to put in the effort.”
Faculty and students need to challenge how they think as the culture is very deeply rooted and it is everyone’s duty to take these steps.
More education on the Pride and Women’s sex education program this month can be found on CORE or their Instagrams (@sruwomenscenter and @srupridecenter).