Sex Week is an annual tradition at Brown University started by the Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council (SHEEC) during Fall 2009. The week consists of a series of workshops, activities, and discussions tied to the ways in which individual student experiences are tied to their exploration of sexuality on Brown’s campus. Sex Week has always been tied to a particular theme that aligns with student interest and the general campus climate at Brown University, and the council has worked extremely hard over the course of the academic year in order to provide over twenty workshops to the undergraduate student body centered around a particular theme: DV8 (read as “deviate”).
By definition, “deviation” refers to any departure from a common course of action and/or socially accepted ideals. When SHEEC discusses deviation, we are not solely referring to sexual behaviors that are stigmatized. Rather, we seek to strengthen the narratives of individuals whose identities are often silenced when discussing sexuality. Sex Week 2015 seeks to celebrate the identities of individuals who are often silenced and marginalized in discourses related to sexual health – including but not limited to identities rooted in race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual/romantic orientation, etc.
SHEEC is also utilizing Sex Week 2015 as an act of resistance against the prevalence of sexual violence on our campus. We want to work alongside our peers to advocate for the safety and support of all students at Brown. We want our campus to deviate from the notion that sexual violence is the norm. We want mutual respect to be the expectation set by our peers, and we want our campus leaders to advocate for the preservation versus violation of our bodies on this campus. By hosting Sex Week this year, we hope to ignite new conversations and actions at Brown on how to push back against the social inequalities that manifest themselves on this campus. Some of our workshops will also encourage campus-wide action and reform to various aspects of the Brown student experience.
Our lineup for Sex Week 2015 will allow students to engage in topics through three different avenues: tabling events, workshops, and late-night confidentials. Tabling events will occur during the day in various locations on campus where students will able pick up safe sex supplies along with additional sexual health materials on topic such as immediate and ongoing conversations about consent, STIs, social media and more! Workshops will take place in the evenings around topics such as stigma, bodies, pornography, gender roles, etc. In addition, we will also have late-night confidentials – private conversations in which up to 25 students will be able to explore an aspect of identity with facilitators that also share the identity discussed.
During all of our events, we will be accepting donations for Day One Rhode Island and Sojourner House — two centers in the Providence area that provide much needed support to individuals facing sexual violence, relationship abuse, and domestic violence. Historically, some Brown students have either volunteered and/or utilized services from both centers in order to seek out support systems, resources, and advocates with a deep understanding of the needs of individuals who have faced these experiences. Any donations made during our events will be a pledge to stopping acts of violence against bodies and individual experiences within our community as well as the surrounding area. In addition, students will be able to receive a ticket to a secret charity event on Friday only if they attend the entire duration of an event with a RED Facebook banner. All Sex Week events are available at this link on Facebook.
If anyone has any questions about any of the events for Sex Week 2015, please email AskSHEEC@gmail.com or visit our website at bit.do/SHEEC. You can also like our Facebook page or follow our Twitter account.
Thank you so much for your support, and we look forward to everyone enjoying Sex Week this year!
Lytisha Wyatt ‘15 and Alexandra Sepolen ‘16
Sex Week 2015 Co-Coordinators
Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council Co-Chairs