SMU gets serious about sex
Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
First-year students might have started their day on Monday thinking about what outfit to wear or what school supplies to bring to class. Others might have thought about who they would meet or what clubs they could join.
Many however, did not think about the lecture they would have to attend centered around it: sex.
More than 1,000 first-year and returning students piled into McFarlin Auditorium to listen to the Delta Gamma Foundation Leadership in Values and Ethics event, "Let's Talk About ‘It!'"
Kelly Addington and Becca Tieder, the featured speakers and experts on sexual empowerment and sexual assault awareness and prevention, started the evening on a lighter note.
"We are all about breaking barriers and stretching comfort zones," Addington said. "I invite you to sit back and relax and get ready for a double dose of sexual empowerment."
Tieder immediately got the crowd involved, many of whom were chatting amongst themselves or busy on their cell phones.
The purpose of the lecture, as Tieder mentioned from the start, was to make sure every audience member felt comfortable when talking about "it."
"We didn't come here to tell you sex is wrong or sex is evil," Tieder said. "We came to talk about sexual violence in a world that every single one of you can play in the prevention."
Addington and Tieder shared the story of their friendship and the sisterhood that blossomed out of the hardships they had to face when Addington was sexually assaulted.
"The recovery process was really difficult for me. And so I decided that the way I was going to handle this, was I was going to forget that it ever happened," Addington said
Addington said she was scared people would see her as the victim, something she didn't want to be portrayed as, but said she eventually had the courage to tell others about her story.
After Addington and Tieder finished, Dr. Cathey Soutter, coordinator of psychological services for women at SMU, shared a few words on campus resources and introduced Monika Korra, SMU senior, who chose to share her story to an audience for the first time.
"What happened to me could have happened anywhere, could have happened to anyone" Korra said. "But it happened to me here in Dallas. It happened to be an SMU student. And that student happened to be me."
Korra proceeded to tell the audience that they can't control everything that happens in life, but they can focus on controlling how they respond to what happens.
Paolo Stanchi, SMU first-year, felt Korra's story added another element to the evening.
"It's kind of like the real world," Stanchi said. "This is not a
perfect place and stuff does happen, you just always have to be ready for it."
Upperclassmen athletes who were encouraged to attend the lecture agreed.
"I think it was really good that Monica stood up," Alice McCall, a sophomore, said. "I mean obviously it took a lot for her to do, but it just makes it a little more real."
Karen Click, director of SMU's Women Center, believed the night was beneficial to all.
"As a community, we are here to support each other," she said. "This is beneficial to every member of our campus."