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

Episode 5: Power and Influence of Campus Groups.  In the final episode of Exploring Entanglements, peer educators discuss the power and influence of groups on campus. They review the importance of proactive bystander intervention and the resources available for folks to offer support to those who experience harm.


Hello everybody. Welcome back to our podcast exploring entanglements. Today is our fifth and final episode. So we'll just be wrapping some things up. Today. We're going to be talking about the power of group and sexual geographies. So I wanted to highlight a specific story from the book. It's in, I think it's Chapter 9. It's called the power of the group. And it starts off with this girl, her name is Jillian, um, and she is hanging out. I think I'm an apartment party or something like that. Hanging out with a bunch of friends and a new person that she met, whose name is Bobby? Julian got to talking with Bobby and after some time, realized that she was so engrossed in those conversations, you didn't realize that her friends and everyone else who left the apartment, which loved her and Bobby alone in the apartment. And it just so happens, Bobby's apartment was the next door down. So we're already creating a little bit of an issue of sexual geography is just because they were alone and bombs department was right there. There's kind of that that pressure of meeting or not meeting, but that pressure of a sexual thing might happen. In the book, they explicitly say her friends intentionally or not had set up a sexual situation that they were in, and Julian had felt that this like situation had been sprung upon her and that she wasn't really like planning on doing this or whatever, but her friends kind of like made that choice for her. And it shows that the sexual situation is really a social will social situation. Her peers were like making an effort to produce a sexual experience for one another. And I feel like that is a really common thing that happens where people kind of already, like your friends already decided for you like, Oh, you guys are, you guys are chatting it up, you're vibing, whatever. So they kind of like we'll leave you to alone and things like that. And then it kind of produces that's like a little bit of a pressure that you might feel if you're in that situation. Yeah, I think this happens so often actually because especially in college, because it's like you meet somebody. Hey, do you have a friend? My friend. And I oftentimes it's it's not something like, you know, it's something you just kind of ask but you don't really ask like your friend if she wants, like the guy that you're talking to, to like bring a friend for her. Sometimes it makes a person feel safer, I guess you can say when you're like, Hey, yeah, is it okay if I bring my friend and then it kind of like unintentionally does sort of result in these situations where you're with somebody and you know, you don't really like want to be with them too, too much. And then, you know, things are happening and you kinda feel like, okay, well, my friends over there doing whatever. So maybe I should just be in here and just, I guess try to have fun. But I think this happens so often in college because, you know, there's a stereotype that college students just wanted to drink and have sex. And so I think it's so unfortunate because I think it's something that's not really like talked about within like your friend groups. And it can also be a little awkward when you're like, yeah, like No, I don't want to talk to this guy. I don't care who your target do bad. I want to I don't want him to bring a friend for me. Like, you know, sometimes it's kind of seem like I was like, Oh, you're being like a party pooper, but it is, you know, that's a little uncomfortable to talk about like within like your actual friends. And I think I think this is such a good point because something that happens so often but so little is really said. Yeah, I agree. Like especially with like my friend or like this guy, I'm talking to you as a friend too, like wants to talk to you or whatever and you kinda just like, get roped into that situation and and it's awkward. And like you said, like you don't want to be a party pooper, so you're not trying to like, kinda shut it down like you might if it was just like a stranger. But there's like that kind of like pressure because you see like your friend across the room maybe like with the other guy and you're like, Oh, well, they're having fun. So like I don't want to interrupt them. So you just like, keep keep the conversation going with whoever you got, I guess stuck with essentially. And it's just yeah, like and I don't think and Julian's case, it really lead to anything but she just kind of like fell or just comfort of like, oh, this decision was kind of made for me rather than like I was telling them, I would like to leave us alone. Leave us alone. Like it was more like they kind of were just like, Oh, now we see what you're doing and we're going to let you go. We're going to go do your own thing. And it left her and like a kind of uncomfortable situation. And yeah, I think in the bucket sounds like nothing happened and she didn't like say that anything happened. But it's just like just that act alone is like a little uncomfortable too. Kind of hobbling your friends kind of put you and that's awkward situation. And I love that. You said like, you know, you're kinda just stuck with somebody because I feel like that's what it feels like. I mean, I don't know about you, but I feel like I have been in this kind of position before where I'm like, I'm stuck with this person then and I know my friends are trying to, you know, like their own thing. But like I'm not really feeling this and like, you know, some people don't have that. How do I say comfortability, I guess to like, you know, basically tell the other person like yeah, like, you know, I'm just kinda children like I don't really want to do nothing. But like, you know, in some situations it can lead to people feeling like they're forced to kind of like go with the flow of things. But, you know, it makes them like it's put some in this uncomfortable situations. So I can definitely see how and in some situations, it could potentially lead to like very traumatic experiences. Yes, speaking of like certain situations like leading to more dramatic and traumatic experiences. Later in that chapter, they talk about the story of this girl named Octavia. She was a freshman and she was invited to, they say in the book, one of the more prestigious France on campus. And this made her feel like special and like she was chosen to go hang out with, you know, like the I guess the more popular fat. And then once you made it to the party, she was invited upstairs with a few of like the frat brothers, and this made her feel like she was part of like the in-group XIV, like felt like super cool and like who, what n But she went upstairs and had a couple of drinks with with just I guess a couple of the frat brothers. And then after a while, she said it almost felt like it was on Q all of them, but one left and like so it left her alone with one frat brother. I don't think using done a book, but she didn't really want to stay up there, but she felt like it was kinda rude or maybe she wouldn't get invited back if she had declined. So she stayed upstairs just for one more drink. She said. And then once everyone else is gone, the other frat brothers started kissing her and she's actually don't really mind that, but then he took out way too far and removed her clothes and unfortunately, sexually assaulted her in that time. But she felt like this was a plan among the brothers to like leave them to alone upstairs. And obviously like this relationship is so different from the story that we had talked about before where it was a bunch of friends, but this was kind of like she was in an unfamiliar space in somebody else's house. And like she felt almost like they had planned for this to happen and she felt pressured by the space, well as the people who were in the space. So she felt pressured by all the other brothers who would love to stay up there because it was kind of part of this plan and then also felt pressured by the one that was staying with her. Yeah. I think this is also a situation that happens often in college, especially when it involves things with like popularity or like, you know, these really like popular frets on campus. You know. And it's, it's really easy to understand why you would, you know, in Octavius case, feel like, you know, you're being you're being like special and like they're taking a priority with you in writing you upstairs and stuff. And so it's easy to understand why like, you know, this would happen. Her, you know, her feeling like okay, yeah, like I'm in this Fran, you know, they really cool around campus and I want to be here. And then it takes an unfortunate turn when, and it's crazy because I feel like a lot of us have been in situations where it does seem kind of like pre-plan, like the way that they all left. That's really creepy. So in Octavius case, you know, it's kind of like you're put in an uncomfortable position because it's like you do want to be here about the same time. You did not ask for all of this, you know, you didn't ask for him to sorry for moving your clothes. You come to a party to have fun and you know, it is so unfortunate when you're put in this space, especially like the whole upstairs type of thing. You know, you hear in movies like, Oh, they went upstairs like, you know what that means? So it's like this whole like being in this upstairs kind of space alone with somebody. It really like it really puts into perspective like, Okay, well this is, this has the potential to turn into an unfortunate situation like Octavia. So I do definitely think that the space that you're in kind of does contribute to like your feelings into how, you know, things are going to kind of play out. Because number 1, being alone and then being alone upstairs. That's like a huge different from being downstairs on the couch with lag, you know, other people. So I think when speaking of sexual geographies, it is really important to consider how they can contribute to these eg in this case since you know, fortune experience for her? Yeah. I totally agree. When you said like that's creepy, that they all left like that like that. If it feels like very planned and very intentional. And it didn't seem like Octavia was kind of in on that conversation, of course, to be like, Okay. Yeah. Like I'm cool with you guys leading. Like it was kinda just like they laughed and she was left there to like navigate that space on her own. And I think that really like brings in the conversation around like informed consent and like knowing what you're signing up for. And it seems like in the situation like Octavia was not a part of the conversation before. She was already upstairs and she wasn't a part of the conversation, like moving forward. And I think it's really important to communicate those things with the people that you're with. Like if all the frat brothers had left and it was just the two of them upstairs. If the other guy would have just been like, oh, like, where we're alone now, like would you like to engage in some sexual activity or like anything? But it seemed like that conversation was just like totally like left out of her hands and it was kind of something that like the frat brothers decided on without her being there. And I think like the part about sexual geographies as well as so like so heavy like especially in that space like she was not enough space where she felt really comfortable. I don't I don't know if she'd been there before, but it didn't really seem like it like law alone being upstairs. And he's like a connotation of Upstairs, like in movies like that's kind of where this stuff kinda tends to happen, is like Upstairs away from everybody. I think that she was unfortunately like almost like rendered powerless in this situation because she was in a space that she wasn't familiar with and like, she didn't really have a say unfortunately in the situation. So I think it's important to like, you know, keep this like conversation open and like, make sure that of course everybody is involved in it. That's going to be involved in this potential sexual encounter. But like, yeah, I just don't think she was even like in the know and the way that even the other brothers where even though they weren't really involved, which isn't fair to her. Yeah. And and it also kinda makes you wonder like, did none of like their frat brothers they ask themselves, Is this okay? Like Did anybody talked to her? Does she know like, you know what your plans are? You know what I mean? I feel like a lot of the times we don't like just in any situation, but specifically in situations that can potentially lead to sexual assault, there needs to be accountability to amongst friends. Because, you know, I wonder what would have happened if just one of them would have said like, you know, did anybody ask her like ish this okay. If she wants to be alone right now, like, you know what I mean? Because I feel like yeah, the way that they all just left like that. Like if it was like planned, That's scary, especially to have been like alone in that situation. So it really does kind of tie into this, you know, kind of concept of like, what what if somebody else was there to possibly make make sure that this situation didn't end up in this situation that it did. So I don't know. I just feel like sometimes or the lack of accountability amongst friends, not not just like with men, but in general. I just feel like, you know, if somebody would have with one of the five brothers would have been there and said, Okay, yeah, this seems kind of weird to you, to you guys as an ant like that maybe wouldn't have ended up in the way that it did. So I don't know. That's just something that I think about a lot in these situations. Yeah, I totally agree. And that's actually a perfect segue into what I want to talk about next. So like, I think that's so important and like I'm so glad you brought that up of like, why we're none of these other men. Like considering like, oh, maybe maybe we shouldn't do this or maybe we should check in with her for so make sure that it's okay if we leave and leave them alone or whatever. That is really the role of somebody who is an active bystander in these types of situations and even beforehand. So it seems like this was a conversation that they had, that they had before the party was even happening, before Octavia was even there maybe like they were going to one of them was planning on bringing a girl up. And then the rest of them leaving. And like, why didn't someone say, Oh, maybe we should check in with her. So before the event even happened, like there was an opportunity for somebody to step in and be like, okay, like let's, let's think about this. Like how, how would this come off? Like, I feel like so often link people, try and figure out ways to like Scheme till I get the girl, like quote unquote. And like, try and come up with these elaborate ways to like, you know, like be with a girl or like be with somebody. And like in this I guess scheme that they're coming up with, like, why didn't anybody just like, stop and think about this other person that they were going to be like subjecting to this like encounter. But I think it's really important to talk about like how we can intervene in situations like this. Or if we hear somebody planning something that seems a little bit sketchy, or if we see something going on, like right in front of us, That's a little sketchy like how can we stepped in and kind of like diffuse the situation and make sure that everybody's okay. So I just wanted to explicitly say like what an active bystander is. And that is somebody who says something when they see and they disrupt and advice when they see somebody who is being targeted. So in this situation with Octavia, one of the brothers could've said, Okay, I like this girl is seemingly like you're targeting her legs. Let's step back and re-evaluate like our approach to this. Yeah. And I think and be an active bystander is more helpful than, you know, in that moment. And sometimes it does kind of seem like I don't want to be in anybody's business. But, you know, it it's like you can, by being an active bystander, you're doing so much more for that person then, you know, for example, in this situation, you know, preventing something like sexual soul from happening. That's something huge. And that's something that, you know, that person will be very thankful for. And so, you know, in, in talking about bystander and you know, how to be an active bystander. There is this thing called five D's of being an active bystander. So for example, the first one is to just be direct, you know, in assessing the situation. Just confronting it. Asking yourself, is it safe for everyone to, that's in this situation. For example, in Octavia situation, one of the frat brothers could have just simply asked himself, is this okay? Is this going to be okay for her? And so I feel like in that situation, definitely somebody could have been direct and could add for sure, have asked at least themselves like okay, is this going to be a situation that's safe for everyone, especially Octavia, because this is not an environment that she knows. Going along with the rest of the five D's. The next one is destruct, and this one is one of my personal favorites. I think it's. Like the least confrontational and like just easy ways to do it. So this is just engaging the target. So this would be Octavia, like engaging them and ignoring the harasser, so you're distracting situation to stop it. And another example of this is I'll draw on my own personal experience. There was one time that I was at a frat party and I was just like dancing with my friends and stuff. And then I looked over and I saw this girl. And this guy, and the guy has seemed to be a little too fancy, like a little too, like a little too much for the whole situation and they grow legs a little bit uncomfortable. So I walked over to her and I was like, Oh my God, I love a song, like come dance with me and my friends. And then when she was out of that situation, I was like really like are you okay to use everything okay. And she was like, Oh yeah. Like he just came up to me like, I don't know. Like I don't know him, I don't know who he is or anything about him and I didn't really want to be in that situation. So I think like she found her friends like the people she came with and like the situation was over. So like that's distracting the situation and just like bringing that person out of that. And I think that's, you know, that's because you go on Twitter and you see so many like instances where something like this has happened and has actually prevented a lot. And so one of the 30s is delegate, and so it's asking for help from a third party or seeking support from others to help diffuse the situation so I can draw on a situation may so it doesn't have to do with sexual assault, but being an active bystander can apply to a lot of different types of situations. But the one time I was actually walking back from the gas station which is like two minutes away from my house. And there was this guy following me is like this older white man. He was in an alleyway. He was just it was just out in the gas pumps and he had no car anything. So then I know being a woman at NIH, I smile and say make sure you wouldn't lag, try. We are anything. And then he starts following me. So I start lag, you know, speed walking and he likes, starts picking up his pace when I actually run across history. And what does he do? Runs across the street. So I see one of my neighbors that I don't really know too well, but I have seen a lot. And he actually happened to be Hispanic, so I told him in Spanish, like this guys following me. Okay. Please help me. So, you know, he had his wife walk me back home. And it's crazy because this guy, as soon as I spoke to this, to my neighbor, he turned around so quickly I'm right back into the alleyway. That was probably the scariest thing happened to me. But I'm so glad that I asked for help because I feel like in situations like that as kind of like awkward to like, you know, ask somebody you don't really know for help. But I like just imagine if I would have, you know, if I would have not asked my neighbor for help and he would just die his car and went to wherever he was going. Like I kind of had to like kind of like not scream at him but I was a sec. Please help me like these guys following me. And so his wife ended up walking me home, which is super nice. But, you know, in a situation like this, asking for how a lot of the times can be super helpful in preventing like such an unfortunate situation. So. You know, in this delegate D of the active bystander, don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it because there's, you know, you never know when somebody is in the same situation as you and, you know, you just have to like do whatever is safe for you in that moment. I really appreciate you sharing that. It sounds terrifying, so I'm so sorry I had to go through that, but I'm so glad that your neighbor was like being an active bystander, like doing everything that he knew how to help. Like, I'm so glad that you felt comfortable asking for help and that time too. And that like he got his wife to walk you home like that is so that, uh, so kind. And I think that's a great example of being an active bystander because, I mean, what these things too, I feel like it's so hard to know like, one is the right time to ask for help or like one is the right time to intervene. But I think it's just you. How about gut feeling you now? And especially like if somebody is falling you, that's pretty like obvious that that's very sketchy and that you need help in that situation. But sometimes like it, you don't really know like one is the right time to like, reach out and ask somebody for help or to intervene in a situation that you may be witnessing. So thank you for sharing that. I'll move on to the fourth d of the 5D is, and this is delay. So this would be acting after the fact. So if a situation is going on and you don't feel like it's like safe for you to intervene in that moment. You would like maybe the next day, like talk to somebody, report it or like check in with that person and be like, hey, like is everything okay? Like, you know, just check in with them or to report the situation like after the fact or maybe it's a little bit more safe for everyone involved to do so. And then I, I could just say velocity. Then The last the fifth D of the 5D is of bystander intervention is documentation. So this could be like recording the a band, like taking out your phone and recording the event. Or like just like making notes or like taking note of who the person was or like what they were wearing. And like this can be really helpful if like you do choose to report the event that you have documentation of exactly what happened. Um, and like we said before, bystander intervention can be applied to so many different things, not just sexual assault. And one of the best examples I can think of, of the, the documenting of an event would be in the too many instances of police brutality where people will record the event happening to be able to report it, and to be able to have that documentation of the event. Because we saw this in the case with George Floyd, that there was a literal like video evidence of what was going on. So it was almost indisputable. So that's another really important, like, I guess. Way that you can intervene as taking a video or documenting the event so that you have that and it's like indisputable evidence. Yeah. And so like, you know, I'm thinking of bystander intervention. It's it's just good to acknowledge that as a community, we have a responsibility to keep each other safe. And so bystander intervention is, that's why it's so important, especially as college students. We need to look out for each other. We need to make sure that we're all being safe and that, you know, even when sometimes we're in situations where we're in the position where we need somebody to come save as, you know, just think about how thankful that person is going to be. And so, you know, it's a lot of just like, you know, caring about the people that are in our communities and just making sure that none of us ended up in any situation where we can potentially be harmed. I think you touched on a really important point. It's like just, we just need to care about the people around us like we are really aiming to like, especially on college campuses and especially with an Westchester like our work, we're really aiming to cultivate this community of care and like looking out for the people that are around us. And another really important aspect, our intervention is the group mentality. So earlier we talked about like the power of the group and how that can negatively influence situations but with by a student or intervention, it can actually show the positive side of the power of the group. Because if one person, if one person acts, other people will see that and like kind of go in that group mentality and be like okay, like I'm going to help to like you're studying a really good example for those around you. And I'm just like caring about other people. Like stepping in when needed or like just yeah. Just like stepping in when needed and just like carrying about the people around you. We encourage you to intervene and checking regularly with those around you. If you see something, something. And we are actually offering some programming around bystander intervention. Coming in the fall. It's called RAM step up. And it's basically just covering bystander intervention and how you can learn to become an active bystander. So just see now to understand that you're not in these situations and there's a multitude of resources that are available so that we can all make sure that we're dealing with these experiences in the right way. So, so actually I'm, Dana brought up this resource to me. It's called Psychology Today. And it's basically like a therapist finder. I haven't used it yet, but maybe Dina can say a little bit more about how to navigate it. Yes, I love talking about this because I actually use this to find the therapists I'm currently seeing and I thought it was so helpful. So if you literally just type into Google like Psychology Today, therapist finder, it'll be like the first link that you see. And you can go in there and put in a bunch of like Equated to it, like online shopping for therapists, because you can go in and put in all these different filters and it'll give you therapists that meet your criteria. So this isn't anything from like the insurance side you use or if you don't have insurance, you can choose a provider that uses a sliding scale. You can choose what type of therapy that they practice. You can choose specifically like what types of issues they engage with. You can also choose like their age, their gender, or you can choose like so many different things. So it'll literally just give you a list of all the providers in your area that like meet the criteria on what you're looking for, which I think is so important because it really helps you like find exactly what may work for you. Yeah, so I think that would be super beneficial for somebody, especially if you have a certain identity and you would really like your therapist to share that with you, that identity. And so I think that's a great way of finding a therapist that is right for you. There's also the Rape abuse, abuse and incest national network. And so this is a national hotline that connects you with the trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. And so the number is 806, 56 or 673. Also a Crisis Text Line that's available. So you can just text start to the number 741741 and they'll connect you with a crisis counselor that you can just chat with like short-term. I've texted this number before. It usually is really helpful. They'll try. And just like work through it like your crisis at this time with you. And it's really, it's free. It's usually like really quick to get connected with somebody. And I think it's really helpful to be able to text somebody rather than call because it just easier depending on where you are, like if you're out or something you can't like be on the phone or it's just support that's there for you, like whenever you need. And if you're local to Westchester, the Westchester Counseling Center is also here for you and their phone number is six mm now 4362301. And you can learn more about the online services they're offering right now due to COVID. But, you know, the Counseling Center is gray. I would encourage everyone to go there if you need support, especially if you're local to Westchester and a student. Okay. The last local to Westchester resource dot will share today is the Westchester crimes Victim Center. They have a sexual assault hotline that you can call if you've experienced sexual assault, just to like talk about it and see your options and like what you want to do about that. Whether that's reporting or just talking to somebody and their sexual assault hotline phone number is 6106927273. And we just wanted to give a couple of special shout out and thank you to everyone who made this possible. The Talia, We wanted to thank you so much for being a part of a few episodes. We also wanted to think jennifer Hirsch and Shamus Khan for writing sexual citizens and giving us a great jumping off point for these conversations we've been having over the last couple of episodes. Now also wanted to thank Sasha so much for being my co-host. And I also wanted to thank the Center for Women and Gender Equity for making this all possible. Yes, thanks for being the most amazing co-host, ever. So insightful and I appreciate all the time that you put into this podcast. And so don't forget about us. Follow us at the Center for Women and Gender Equity social media accounts, it CW, GE on Instagram. And we push very inclusive and comprehensive sex education. And we try to use this information to make meaningful actions. So if you're interested in being just more aware and more connected with us and the centering general on campus. Don't forget to follow us and hear about our upcoming event. So thank you so much to everyone that's been listening.

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