Let’s talk about sex: Kent State Sex Week 2014

Arianna Likouris models an outfit made out of condoms and designed by Cree Pippen and Simone Jackson at the Condom Couture fashion show Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014.

Carolyn Pippin

Typically people are the ones picking the condoms, but now the tables have turned as condoms are determining college rankings.

According to the 2014 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, Kent State ranks as one of the best colleges that provides students with access to the best sexual health resources.

The university holds the number 61 spot out of 140 colleges total.

Sex Week at Kent State helps to promote resources for students and expand their knowledge on sexual education.

The Office of Health Promotion provided kits for students during Sex Week.

“It has a couple of condoms in it, and talks about when our confidential HIV screening is,” said Kent Interhall Council Vice President Emily Nighswander. “It’s basically just like a packet of resources for them.”

Kent Interhall Council partnered with Green Dot to facilitate a program during the week called, “What’s with the Green Dot?”

The Green Dot initiative has two aspects. The first is a workshop to teach people how to recognize a red dot, or an act of power-based personal violence, such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking, and ways to make those situations green dots, or any behavior or choice that promotes safety for all, instead.

“There are a lot of different bystander programs out there,” said Jennie O’Connell, sexual assault coordinator for the Women’s Center. “We researched all the different programs, and Green Dot was really one that was polished.”

Green Dot, launched on Kent’s campus officially on Sept. 24., embodies an active bystander intervention program.

“When you’re on campus there are a lot of strangers around and that sense of community changes,” said Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, assistant director for the Women’s Center.

“We’re responsible to kind of look out for one another, check in with one another to make sure we’re creating a safe environment. Green Dot does that.”

Reactions to Sex Week 2014 from KentWired.com on Vimeo.

Statistics show that sexual assault is prevalent in the college atmosphere, suggesting that as many as one in five women will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault during college, Pegg-Kirby said.

“One in 33 men report an attempt or completed rape in their lifetime,” she said.

The three ways to be proactive and create green dots are to direct, distract or delegate.

“There are all different ways to do green dots and it’s about how can I work with these obstacles,” Pegg-Kirby said.

O’Connell said 10 months were required in planning and discussing the program.

A little more than 100 people on Kent’s campus have gone through the full Green Dot training.

Each resident assistant had to attend the overview of Green Dot as a step to ensure safety in the dorms.

“Basically they tell us what green dots are, what red dots are and what we can do to prevent red dots or turn them into green dots,” junior psychology major Caitlin Reicher said.

A red dot is anything having to do with sexual assault or rape culture. Preventing the assault or working to better the situation turns it into a green dot.

Students are encouraged to speak with their RAs if they have any issues with sexual offenses.

“I would direct them to the Women’s Center, I would direct them to helplines, hotlines, anything that I think could benefit them,” Reicher said. “I can help to some extent, but I’m not going to be all that they need.”

Katie Hnida, the first woman to play Division I football spoke about her journey as a survivor Wednesday night.

In her presentation she noted that 75 percent of rapes are committed by someone that the victim knows.

“I didn’t tell a single person what happened to me,” Hnida said. “I had no idea who I was anymore.”

Hnida, who was sexually harassed while playing football in college, turned to therapy to get help.

“I’m not going to lie, it really sucks,” Hnida said. “It’s like having a surgery where you have to go in and you have to fix whatever is wrong in there.”

However, the therapy did have its benefits.

“It’s the only way to get rid of whatever it is that is inside that will otherwise control your life,” she said.

Recently, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act report for Kent State reported that seven out of the eight forcible sex offenses in 2013 were a result of residence hall violations.

“I don’t necessarily think that sexual assault has increased, but more that people are less afraid to come forward about it,” Reicher said. “Or they’re more willing to try and get help. Or people are more aware of what all constitutes sexual assault, and I think that in itself is going to bring more of a rise to the numbers.”

Contact Carolyn Pippin at [email protected].