Exploring Entagnlements Exploring Entanglements: What Does it Mean to Be a Sexual Citizen?

This episode uses the book Sexual Citizens by Dr. Jennifer Hirsch and Dr. Shamus Khan to start a conversation about sex education and sexual violence prevention.


Welcome to Exploring entanglements, a podcast brought to you by the Center for Women & Gender equity at West Chester University. My name is Natalia. I'm a second year double major in sociology in Spanish. And my pronouns are she her hers for background complex regarding our conversation, I am bilingual, Puerto Rican, and cisgendered woman. Hey everyone. I'm Dana. I'm a senior with a major in Psychology and a minor in women's and gender studies. I use she or her pronouns. And just for a little context about who I am and these conversations. I'm a bisexual, cis white woman. Hey everyone. My name is Sasha Alvarado. I go by she her pronouns. I me third-year political science major spanish minor And just for a little context about I'm bilingual strays from Guatemala. We just wanted to give a quick trigger warning because in this podcast, we will be talking about sexual violence and assault. We'll be analyzing and having conversation around the book, Sexual citizens by Jennifer Hirsch and Shamus Khan. This book offers a framework that conceptualizes the factors that enable sexual assault. So we'd like the listeners to be aware that we'll be discussing potentially triggering topics throughout the podcast. Before we get started, we would like to define some terminology that we will be using frequently throughout exploring entanglements. The first is sex. Sex is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide variety of sexual activities. It's a fluid thing and it looks different for everyone. For the purposes of the podcast, we will be defining sex, sexual activity between people where people's, This includes intimate experiences between consenting parties that may build a connection. This connection can be defined as intimacy. Our next term we will be using is sexual citizenship. Sexual citizenship is it acknowledgement of one's own right to sexual self-determination And importantly, it recognizes the equivalent right in others. So sexual citizenship isn't something that you are granted when you're poor, but something that is fostered and something that we as a society institutionally in culturally have support it. So for example, some people don't feel entitled to their own bodies, and some people feel entitled to other bodies. So how do we promote sexual citizenship? We do this by creating conditions that allow people to be sexually self-determined. This means making them feel secure, capable, and insisting that we all recognize each other's rights. Another frequently used term that we'll be using throughout exploring entanglement is sexual geographies. And this can be defined as places and spaces where people meet, folks that they might be interested in romantically or sexually. Sexual geography on campus could be a dorm room, class, or any other space where you can get to know people or meet people. Sexual geography is also hold power in sexual situation. So for example, in a dorm room, you can usually find a bad, an uncomfortable chair and a desk. The presence of a bad space might suggest that sex is an option, giving a sexual geography power in that particular situation. Another term is sexual projects, and this involves the reasons why anyone might seek a particular sexual interaction or experience. And a sexual projects can be considered a range of things like finding or sexual identity you wanting to experience, unsure, interesting, gaining a specific experience and even just trial and error, finding out what you like and don't like. Another important term. Frequently using the term consent means the affirmative voluntary agreement gave specific sexual activity during sexual encounter. Consent can be revoked at any time. Another term that's frequently used with consent is coercion. Ultimately consent as V1 A1 coercion is present. Coercion is unwanted sexual activity that happens and you are pressured, tricked, force, and non-physical way. Coercion can make you think you owe sexism and another frequently used term thought we'll be using throughout, exploring entanglement is sexual geographies. And this can be defined as places and spaces where people meet folks that they might be interested in romantically or sexually. Sexual geography on campus. It could be a dorm room, class, or any other space where you can get to know people or meet people. Sexual geography is also hold power in a sexual situation. So for example, in a dorm room, you can usually find a bad, an uncomfortable chair and a desk. The presence of a bad space might suggest that sex is an option, giving a sexual geography power in that particular situation. Another term is sexual projects, and this involves the reasons why anyone might seek a particular sexual interaction or experience. And a sexual project can be considered a range of things like finding your sexual identity, wanting to experience harsher, interesting, gaining a specific experience and even just trial and error, finding out what you like and don't like. The correlation between unisexual soul and communities of color in college. Based off of what I've read from the sexual citizens text, is they mentioned a story about a woman who went to a PIWI, who went to a predominantly white institution. And there wasn't a safe place where there wasn't an environment where she felt comfortable whenever she wants to parties, people always regulated her as hadn't drugs, as a black woman who came to the party and, you know, basically who was a dealer, which, you know, was not the case. And you would go to parties for the sake of meeting people, meeting friends, having like growing to have a close friend group. And her experiences every time are very difficult. And she found that the more she drank or more comfortable she felt. And ultimately, this led to her one day falling unconscious and and her unfortunately getting sexual sexually assaulted. And and there's a, there's a correlation there between this because these are external pressures that that made her drink. The reason why entrepreneurs drinking in the first place wasn't because she wanted to drink alcohol or she had drank our Kwan the pastor had experience with alcohol in the past. It was because she felt uncomfortable in the higher education system that she was in. And this is explicitly written in the text as well. She felt uncomfortable and the institution as she was in the PWM and found comfort in the alcohol and it made her feel more welcome. And ultimately, you know, there's a correlation there because of these external pressures, because it's not uncommon that people feel uncomfortable or people of color feel excluded from different parties and different experiences in college because of their identities, because of their race, their ethnicity, their nationality, the languages that they speak, and they find comfort in in alcohol and drugs. And although I personally, I'm not like a heavy drinker, I can definitely attest to the the, the feeling of discomfort NLP Wi, and the feeling of not being accepted and included. And some experiences because of my ethnicity and, and you know, my nationality and the language that I speak so I can access that these pressures are real. Right? There. There's another story here of I'm non-binary individual named Liu Bei and it's very similar story where they attended a white institution, it says. And they felt uncomfortable in this small community and the larger white community. It's solid wood. They left campus to try and get away from the quote, ****** white music that was being played at student events. So they left campus, try and find comfort in some sort of outside environment. And they ended up at a bar where they were, they were alone there and they we're offered a drink by someone and they refused. And then they're offered again. So they took it because I guess it says up drinks in New Yorker, very pricey and whatnot. So they just accepted the drain because I mean, who would enter. And then it turns out that the drink was or that they had gotten drugs, that it was something was put in the dream. And then again, ultimately it results in them being halted. So I definitely think that there is a correlation between the individuals feeling comfortable on their campus and feeling accepted and included on the campus environment. Where one side. But yeah, like if an individual does not feel comfortable in a campus environment, they might seek other environments that are off campus where things might go awry. Unfortunately, it didn't happen like that. And lipase keys where the I guess you it's heterosexual geography that they were in Watson and great for them in either case, whether it was at the bar that they ended up, or whether they are on campus. Just like I didn't have a place for them. So I think that having a safe space and an inclusive space for people of color and other minorities is really important. But I specifically relate to one of these stories because I used to go to university and I ended up transferring my sophomore year to Westchester because of the lack of minority students. Could champs can't miss. An ad, would often feel like when I would go out to know these white parties, I felt like, well, I don't like this music. First of all, I don't feel comfortable here. First of all, yeah, maybe I'm going to get a drink to make me feel a little bit more loose and make myself feel like, okay, well, you know, let me just try to have whatever and I, you know, and sometimes you feel that alcohol can make you have fan or help you have fun. So I definitely agree that lay, just be a part of a community of color, like a minority student at a predominantly white institution, you can like, make you feel so uncomfortable and places where, you know, where you're really supposed to have. And so like, I think it's important to acknowledge that in a lot of universities, for example, Westchester university, There are different spaces for different communities. Like for example, on West testers Canvas, we have two different tail gaze. And to put it bluntly, one of them is for the white students and the other till date is for the minority students. And so I think it's really important to acknowledge that depending on what community you come from, you're going to have different spaces for you to feel safe at. And sometimes because of this, because of your multiple identities, you might feel like you have to JSON to allow yourself to be comfortable and allow yourself to have fun. And it's really unfortunate that because of our multiple identities and because we don't feel comfortable and other species, sometimes it can result in unfortunately experiences. But yes, asha, honestly, that reminds me of an experience I had as soon as I got into high school. My mom, like Joe to into my head, like to never ever go to any like frat parties because of of, you know, her background experience, knowing other women of color who have gone to these, you know, whitespaces and and and have been sexually assaulted. And she always drilled into my head like, never go to any fat parties, don't drink any frat parties. I don't take a drink from anyone that you like, what interests with your life. And, you know, like she ingrained into my head that I still to this day like I've gone through a few frat parties. But like I haven't really like, you know, had more than one drink that I brought, like myself over there. I've never had to drink from from a frat party that like, you know, that was actually like providing the liquor. So that just goes to show that like, you know, this type of a fear that That some people of color and communities of color have when it comes to these whitespaces and this mistrust this up. And that is extremely valid. And that's an experience that I had growing up. My mom like really warned me about these about these spaces and really ingrained into me and I and I listen to them Tuesday and I don't I don't drink at frat parties at all. Yeah. And I would never consider a frat party to be a safe space. And especially at Wash us or at least I know a lot of the mainstream France are predominantly white. And that is never really a safe space or people of color. And I think it's honestly so important to be like if you're gonna be drinking and if you're going to be under the influence, it so important to be around people that you feel comfortable with and people that share the same values as you like. If you feel like you need to leave, they'll leave with you when you need and things like that. And I feel like a majority of frat spaces and things like that and other like predominately white spaces for people of color. It's just not ideal. Something really important to think about because personally I have, you know, gotten to like a free drink stay at parties. And I always knew that I had a group of friends with me than either one might say, okay, well, like, you know, I'm going to make sure you're okay or leaving this thing together. And I'm telling you right now, I don't want to leave anybody else, but you. So I think it's really important that, you know, obviously you are careful when you are going to be shrinking. But I also think it's important to have like a person, like a designated person or a partner that you're going to be like, Okay, we're leaving this thing to get there. Really we, it's safely and, you know, we're just going to look out for each other. I'm going to be drinking. I think number one, just for comfortability, it would be just much better for you and you would probably have more fun if you drink with somebody or a group of people that you feel safe with. And obviously if you're going into a place where you already don't feel comfortable, you know, it's really important, especially in those spaces. People that you know, are going to be there for you and aren't going to watch out for you. And you'll just have each other's back. Because there's so many Unfortunately experiences that so many people have had where they haven't been able to rely on somebody or a group to really look out. And so I think it's really important that when we are drinking, drinking species where we feel safe and comfortable. Yeah. And I feel like almost like with we're talking about like having a group of people that we can trust and that how like our best interests in mind, I think maybe like even setting boundaries are expectations for the night before you go out, just like before anyone starts drinking or anything, just be like, Hey guys, this is my intention for the NIH. I want to go out, have fun and I leave with you guys like, I don't. I guess, setting boundaries and expectations for how you want the night to go. So everybody's on the same page and like if for whatever reason, like if you say like, I just want to come with you guys, leave with you guys on. But then there's somebody who maybe that you meet when you are out that is having a different idea about what the rest of the night might look like if they might want to like, go home with you or something like that, your friends will know that that was not something that you had intended to do so that they can kind of stuff and you're like, hey, like checking your k with this. Like how are you feeling about it type of thing. So that just take everyone's on the same page and everyone kind of has the same idea of what's going to go on for the NIH? Yeah. I honestly feel like that the a lot of of of questions regarding like consent regarding, you know, how to drink. If you choose to drink, how to drink safely, you know where the people that you can confide in, you know, what do you consider ofs a splay, a safe space and you know, how do you go about like if you are drinking and you have a friend who is drinking and your friend decides that she wants to go inside of a room with with someone else, you know, or he, you know. How do you how do you navigate, you know, telling your friends that you want to go and you're under the influence, which means that you're not able to give consent. How do you go about like telling your friend like, hey, you know, I know you want to go into this room with this guy. And, you know, right now, you know, you may want to have sex with with him or her. So how do you go about navigating that and telling them that, hey, you're nine, the right mind space of, of, of having sex right now you're not in the right mind space a good consent and you're not able to get consent. And if you know the other person which you're engaging in sexual activity with, they're not in the right mindset either to, to to give consent either. So how do you how would you go about would you guys go about navigating a situation like that where you have to kind of be the middleman and tell you personally, tell your friend no. I feel like almost like what you said about like, hey, you're not I don't think you're in the right mind space for this. I don't think maybe the other person is in the right headspace for this, either maybe suggest staying, you get their Snapchat or you've got their phone number or something and then you can kind of set something else up for another time or like, I guess just being there for your friend and offering me the other options could be helpful in that situation just to make sure that everything's all good, everything is still safe and whatnot. But again, like giving them that option still and kind of putting in their head like, oh, maybe this isn't the best choice. Like I know you told me like, if you set the expectation, I want to come with you guys and then leave with you guys. Like, kind of bring that back up and be like, okay, this is what you told me earlier and this is a little different from what's going on right now. Like maybe do you want to stick to that plan and then we can figure something else out for an hour time for you guys or something like that. And I've been in situations like that where, you know, we have been at a party. One of my friends have been I'm about to head out with this guy and they're clearly drunk. So in that situation, what I did was I went to him and I was like, yeah, she's drunk, she's not leading with you at all. And that's it. And so I think that lake, you know, it also does depend on the situation. Like, for example, like Dana said, you can always just be like, shrunk. She's not leaving with you tonight, but you can hear her Snapchat. I'll give you that much. And you can text her tomorrow. But, you know, I think it's more just another person knows that there's a person that is looking out for that person, specifically like in this situation, my friend. So he knows that I'm there with my friend and looking out for her and say, yes, leave it with you. They're gonna be more alike. Are cool. I was not that serious for me to leave with her anyways. So I feel like once they see that there's somebody there with you, that's like, yeah, no, I'm not letting her leave. Then, you know, then they're going to be less pushy and aggressive. Because sometimes it does get to that point where you gotta be like, OK, wow, which I'm not leaving my, You have to get away from us. And so I feel like the best thing that you could do in those situations is just be honest. Like you just look at the other person and say, they're drunk. They're not leaving with you and they're coming home when me and so I think that just being blunt, Basically, it's just better for me. At least. I think that's what gets people, what gets other people more. So like, okay, that's cool. Rather than like all come on, come on. Like, you know, she's not that draw. Like, you know, they always try to say something like that. So I think just the implant will just erase all of that type of Smalltalk. And that's I think what I would do. Yeah. Honestly, I would do the same thing. I will put my foot down and I would tell them, you know, right now, she's not in the right mindset of, you know, of having sex, of engaging in any type of sexual activity. And ultimately she's, you know, she's under the influence so she can not give you consent. So anything that happens okay. Will ultimately be your responsibility because you are the one trying to engage. You're the one who is engaging in and trying to get her to go with you. And I I feel like putting your foot down and showing like yo like you're about to take my friend, you know, if this is somebody that you really want to have future relations with, then you can talk to her when she's at an appropriate mindset where she is not under the influence, where she can give her consent and she couldn't make a rational decision about like whether or not she wants to engage in anything. You even if it's conversation ultimately, you know, this reminds me of a ramp step up and how we had these community guidelines to stick up for each other. And it goes beyond that because there's some women who go to these parties alone, who get themselves into situations sometimes are, are are in situations are put into situations sometimes where they have friends who they don't know anyone to, to stick up for them in and say like, How No, there's no way you're leaving with this individual. No. I was under the influence. There's no way that, you know, I'm going to allow you to put them into this situation is predicament. And ultimately ramps that both the program actually goes over the situation chips and, and these community guidelines that wishes to university tries to stick by so that we could prevent some of these, you know, sexual souls and these rapes that happen. I definitely think like with what the RAM step up with the bystander intervention. I think it's so important that everybody kind of takes, even if you're not in a group of people like say you go out by yourself or loop-based story that we had mentioned earlier where they had left campus on their own and they went out like, I feel like everybody can share this responsibility of kind of keeping an eye on each other in these situations where, you know, there's, there's drugs, there's substitutes, there's alcohol, there's things like this. I feel like I feel Haig in loop-based story where they left campus on their own and they went out to a bar. And they didn't really have anyone with them to kind of step in or intervene. And that's where the whole idea of bystander intervention with Rem step up comes in where everyone should kind of accept this responsibility for the other people that are out. Where if you see something, you should say something or if you see somebody that looks uncomfortable or is alone, like, I know I would keep an eye on anyone if I see any of the Hang on. I'm always just a little suspicious and always just want to know what's going on and make sure everyone is safe and stuff. So I feel like with the community guidelines of RAM step up, it's kind of we've made it into a shared responsibility for the safety of everyone around. Like I feel, hey, we need to do our own heart and helping each other out and really just preventing any experience sexual assault from happening. And so I just wanted to end this with a reminder about some of the resources that we offer. Unless justice campus, in case you know, anybody that has experienced harm or you yourself have a serious harm. You are not along. You have support spaces here on campus. So you can visit WC UPA.edu slash sexual misconduct. You can also visit counseling center that is so open for students virtually. You can visit there, say, or call to setup an appointment. And the Center for Women and Gender Equity does offer not confidential survivor support. Our listening from another university or city. You can call the national sexual assault hotline at 1806 5-6 for 673, and that is available 24 hours a day. So please do not feel like you're alone in any of these situations. We are always here to help as a center, as a friend. And we offer various we offer various support spaces on campus. So just reach out and know that somebody will be there to support you through this.

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