‘Sex Week’: The Contradiction of Our Century

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From: hsexweek.org

You’ve heard of Spirit Week on college campuses, but have you heard of “Sex Week”?

Believe it or not, Sex Week is a thing, and it’s not just a wild fraternity ploy on some obscure campus, either. It’s a school-sponsored, growing trend on a number of top American universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, the University of Tennessee, Brown, the University of Chicago, and Emory.

What exactly is “Sex Week,” you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like: seven days packed with events devoted to everything sensual and erotic. The school event schedules include discussions on a range of topics from BDSM in the bedroom to anal sex, transgender/bisexual relations, learning from those in the pornography industry, “sex work” as opposed to prostitution, how to be better at oral sex, and, of course, there’s a Planned Parenthood “educational” session. Other plans include a drag show, “free condoms, lube and sex toys” giveaways and more. Perfect. This is exactly what our hook-up culture needs — the further glorification of quick, unattached stimulation.

What is interesting, however, is that the universities are clearly trying to make sure they cover all the bases (sexual pun not intended) to avoid outrage by including a few forums on subjects like “Sex and Religion,” “How Can UTK Stop Sexual Assault,” and “Anti-Rape Activism.”

As I work with our Young Women for America Chapter Presidents, a question I ask is, “What is one of the most talked about issues on your campus right now?” A common response is sexual assault and campus rape. I find it ironic that one of the prevalent issues on colleges right now is sexual violence, yet multiple highly acclaimed universities hold a “Sex Week” which normalizes violent, pornography inspired acts.

The White House recently cited the statistic that one in five women will experience an attempted or completed rape during their college career. However, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of women who will be victims of rape or sexual assault while in college is closer to one in 53.

While the heated debate between the left and right over the figure is important, the two sides are missing the point; regardless of whether the number is one in five or one in 500, that is still one too many. Sexual assault is a serious issue that is often dealt with in one of two ways: Some cry for an end to the “rape culture” — blaming and shaming men in the process — while others downplay and dismiss those who are truly hurting. According to political analyst Mona Charen, neither the former nor the latter response is correct.

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