Informed conversations about sex must occur early, often
“Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things it can be. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about sex.” And not the conversations teachers and students have in eighth grade or how it’s discussed on television or in music. Let’s talk about the real deal, the nitty-gritty.
First and foremost, sex can be a great thing if it is done safely and if both — or all — parties are comfortable and agree on how it is going down. Safety is first because, I mean, is a potential orgasm really worth sacrificing your body to disease? There are way too many people in this small radius of the University to not be protected at all times, especially if you have multiple partners. If you are in a relationship, you and your partner should go get tested together before you decide to “remove the rubber.” It's not about not trusting the person, it's called being responsible. It's called protecting your body before anything, because your body is your temple. The person you are having sex with should respect your body as much as they respect their own. If someone doesn’t want to have safe sex then they don’t respect you enough to protect you from diseases that are potentially deadly, especially when the prevention is so simple. The excuse that "it's not good with a condom" is BS. If you are attracted to the person physically, or even, emotionally, a condom won't bring your 10 down to a two.
When you meet someone and are in the talking phase with them, you’re both feeling each other's vibes and flirting a little. You get that butterfly feeling when you know the feeling is mutual. It’s like, "I know this person is feeling me. He/she/they just isn’t saying it.” The simple solution to find out is to ask. We are all adults, as much as we can be, right? We can easily articulate, maybe even in 140 characters or less, that in that moment, you are attracted to that person and you way want to step it up a notch. But, what notch is that? It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything physical. Just an acknowledgement of how you both feel about each other.
Communication is key in everything: sex, family life and business. But it is especially with sex, because sex without communication can be a detrimental situation. Some people do not think that sexual violence is a real thing. Some people do not think that sexual harassment is a real thing — especially when alcohol and drugs are involved. A wise man at a University football game once told me, “There is no drunk without RU.” With liquor in your system, music flowing through the speakers and bodies dancing, there are a lot of vibes bouncing back and forth. But even when that’s the case, you have to talk it out. Talk out everything. It’s what people do. It’s what we should all do. Sex without consent can lead to a totally different life for the survivor. It’s unfortunate because most times, the survivor is shamed, blamed and defamed. Justice not served on the behalf of the victim and the perpetrator is left with a claim to fame.
And this just does not just happen to women, men can be harassed and assaulted too. It does not just happen to young women walking down the street in the summer time. This can happen to anyone, of any identity, any culture, creed or background. It is not just here at the University, but it is a global manifestation that has not seen a decline in over a hundred years. Why is there still sexual violence in our communities? Consent is the cure. So simple, yet not seen or heard. And this happens right here in our community. Where we live and breathe and go to school. It is all about the way we think and what we think about. We have to think about each other. We have to care about the well-being of one another. We have to spread the message that I am spreading right now. It is not hard to, again, communicate and spread the message. You have no excuse.
On April 22 at 6:30 p.m. on Jameson Courtyard at the Douglass campus, the University and New Brunswick community will be congregating around this issue, as it has been done for many years. Last year, The Daily Targum covered the rally and march consisting of hundreds of people. It seems that sexual violence on campus is more prevalent in this past year than in previous. But many assaults go unreported, and many are covered up by individuals or institutions who would “look bad” because of it. That’s not a place you can be comfortable living in. We have to take a stand. We have to congregate around this issue. We have to Take Back the Night.
Kaila Boulware is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in public health. Her column, “RU Conscious,” runs on alternate Fridays.