After the forum that was organized last Thursday in USF’s new amphitheatre to openly discuss the recent rapes, one thing was clear.
Sure, there was a lot of finger-pointing and disagreement and some blamed the administration for allegedly keeping the facts from students.
Some pointed the finger at ROTC (of which the alleged rapist was a member), saying the military fosters violence and sexualization and has no place at USF.
These are valid points that should be openly discussed as they were on Thursday. And that leads to the point that everybody agreed on: this campus needs more open discussions, especially surrounding sex.
Several students and I left that forum on Thursday wondering, as we did when the minute we first set foot on this campus, “Where are all the sexual health resources on this campus?”
I know we’re a Jesuit campus, but we can’t deny that college students are having, or thinking about having, sex.
And that’s not to say we’re not coming from previous backgrounds, many of us enter college knowing about our bodies and what happens when you don’t wear a condom. Others may not.
But that is where the information stops. The minute we are USF students, we are no longer among a safe, open culture of sexual knowledge and discussion.
Sure, we’re bombarded by safe drinking tips—from the mandatory AlcoholEdu online course to “mocktail” parties put on by the dorms that try to foster discussions about drinking and the risks involved.
But where are the online courses and events about sexual assault? About rape? About what’s too far, what’s okay and what’s not? About how no one should ever be sexually victimized?
We have no sexual health classes or sexual health facilities; unless you count those measly pamphlets hidden outside the caf that barely touch on sexual health issues. There are no condoms in dorm bathrooms, unlike on other college campuses.
Nowhere at USF can you obtain the morning after pill. Resident advisors aren’t allowed to even tell us where the nearest Planned Parenthood is.
Everyone on this campus, regardless of his or her stance on when or when not one should have sex, should be aware of the facts – the absence of sex education directly correlates with unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
Now, I know we all know the basics about sex, but what about sexual assault and rape? If we know that hiding facts from students is bad, then why are we disregarding further sex education?
We’re in the real world, the real world where one out of every six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
A progressive university in one of the most liberal cities in the world is ignoring this statistic, and ignoring the need to inform students about a serious matter. This is appalling.
We are humans. We are sexual beings. We are having sex.
But we are young, and we are students and we have questions. Give us the resources and give us the space to talk about this openly.
Kate Elston is a senior media studies major.