How can we improve In the SACK?

18 02 2009

In the SACK (Safety, Awareness, Consent and Knowledge) is an important piece of the orientation program we have at Tufts to educate incoming students about consent and the realities of sexual assault/rape on college campus. I was a facilitator this year and after the small group program, some students in my group came up to me afterwards and thanked me for talking to them about these issues because no one had ever brought that up with them before.

I never went to In the SACK during my first year orientation because I was feeling, like many other students, orientation fatigue. After a packed day of program after program about plagiarism, academic honesty, safety services on campus, etc., many students just don’t feel like being crowded into another room for yet another lecture. So if not during orientation, when would be the best time to have In the SACK? Would it be more effective to do it later on in the semester after students have gotten somewhat adjusted to college life? Or would it be best to do In the SACK during orientation then repeat it, or something similar, later on in the semester?

Also, for many students In the SACK can be scary. Being told the truth about sexual assault and rape, and how the perpetrator is not a scary man hiding in the bushes but instead almost always someone you know – a classmate, friend, friend of friends, or partner even – is not fun. It’s also really overwhelming to take in all that information after a long busy day of orientation programs, and especially because you’re in college, a new environment. You’re excited to start college, and the last thing you want to hear about is probably rape. Nevertheless it is important to get this information out there.

Many students come into college without having had any sex ed in middle school or high school. Especially since abstinence only education seems to be dominant. Therefore students come into college with very little information about sex and sexual health and hearing about sexual violence may be the closest to sex ed that they’ve ever had.

What we need more of, in addition to sexual violence education, is comprehensive sex ed and sex positivity that is informative and pertinent to students of various ages. The Universalist Unitarian Association and the United Church on Christ have collaborated to create a sexuality education program called Our Whole Lives. It’s a year long program that teaches teens that sex can be good and pleasurable, and how to have good, safe sex.

What are people’s opinions about sex ed on the collegiate level? What are people’s thoughts about In the SACK? How can we modify or improve it? And should we / how can we make In the SACK / sex (positivity) ed a continuous thing throughout the academic year or throughout the college years?


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