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Students to Discuss Sexual Issues

By Deena Disraelly
Staff Reporter

The Sexual Issues Committee continues its efforts to promote campus-wide discussions about the dangers, causes, and consequences that gender stereotyping may have.

The discussions, beginning in late February, will be based within living groups, each led by one male and one female facilitator. The trained volunteers will use different methods including discussion topics, questions about personal thoughts, and experiences and a variety of activities.

"I really want to get people in the living groups, fraternities, sororities, and dormitories discussing how gender stereotypes and socially constructed gender roles tie into our day-to-day lives," said Marcel P. Bruchez, Jr. '95, who wrote the proposal for facilitation groups. Bruchez was also involved in anti-rape work and planning for the Sexual Positions program during Residence/Orientation Week.

Bruchez's proposal began as an assignment for the women's studies class Violence Against Women in Contemporary U.S. Society. It also served as a formal presentation of plans he hoped to see carried out.

"It's changed a lot since I wrote the proposal. The original proposal was to get people discussing men's violence against women, especially sexual violence. Now it's about gender roles and stereotypes," Bruchez said.

Facilitators were trained in two four-hour sessions during Independent Activities Period. The first class introduced SIC and its goals. Participants also discussed their own definitions of stereotypes and activities they could use in their own discussion groups.

The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center conducted the second session, teaching SIC members to facilitate groups, set ground rules, and make their groups comfortable arenas for open discussion.

Some of the facilitators may be graduate students and staff members. "A lot are people whom we've had as facilitators before or people who are just known to us," said Arun R. Patel '93, one of the SIC organizers.

SIC may also produce "Hitting Home," written by Marvi Haynes, director of education and outreach at the Women's Crisis Center of Greater Newport. The play is about domestic violence. The play would be performed by a company Hayne's formed.

Group ran R/O`s Sexual Positions

The SIC organized Sexual Positions last summer, resulting in a play and discussions during R/O Week.

Sexual Positions combined personal monologues with a skit about two students whose relationship ended in rape. After the play, students met with trained facilitators to discuss rape and sexual harassment.

"Sexual Positions had come originally from planning to have a panel discussion for freshmen during Rush," Patel said. He became involved with the project when he was asked to serve on the panel.

"I was originally asked, because people knew I would speak out on my ideas," added Patel.

"Sexual Positions was a success in the eyes of the administration and the eyes of the people who did it. Everyone involved was pleased that it worked out well," Patel said.

The people involved in the production of Sexual Positions "think it's a good idea and got support from the administration to keep working on similar projects," Patel continued.