PDP: SAPA CO-ed Presentation

Section: Exploring Avenues for Personal Development and Professional Achievement 

For this category of the PDP, I was unsure of what I wanted to do. There were many different options, and it was very overwhelming. Finally chose to participate in the SAPA Co-ed Presentation because talking about sex makes me uncomfortable, but why should it? Sexual aggression is a hot topic on college campuses today, and we should all be informed on the issues. All freshman had to attend an orientation session earlier in the year put on by SAPA, but I felt that I did not learn enough from it. When I heard about this, I knew it would be a great opportunity to learn more about an issues I don’t know much about. 

Before I can explain my experience, you may be wondering what SAPA is. SAPA stands for Sexual Aggression Peer Advocated. They are a student-led organization dedicated towards educating people about the dangers of sexual aggression, while also helping those who have fallen victim to it through chat lines and in-person services.  The SAPA page on the CMICH website defines Sexual Aggression as anything that “includes stalking, sexual harassment, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault.” They run a 24-hour crisis hotline, and they are dedicated to helping those in need.

The SAPA Co-ed Presentation took place on Thursday, October 27th in Powers 136. The presentation was similar to the one given at orientation…well, it was practically the same thing, except for a few changes. The SAPA men and women went through a Prezi presentation with statistics about sexual aggression, and a lot of them (although repetitive) were shocking. And to know that a lot of people are so oblivious to the dangers of sexual aggression on college campuses is outrageous. People need to be educated, and they simply are not taking the time to listen. 

One of the things that I liked about this presentation, that separated it from the one shown at orientation, was the it was more interactive. There was a part in the presentation where we had to brainstorm different names for men and women who had a lot of sex. Looking back, we could see that a lot of the names directed towards women were negative, while the male names could been seen as ’empowering’ or ‘cool.’ After, we even ‘designed’ societies ideal men and women. What we noticed was that a lot of the female traits were a double standard: women should be skinny, but have a big butt and big boobs; women should be smart, but not to smart as to be intimidating; and they should be tall, but not too tall.

Looking at all of this, at all the different perceptions of men and women, made all of us realize why sexual aggression and other problems are so prevalent in society today. We have all of these double standards and we don’t even realize it. Even I have been victim to perpetuating these standards. I now realize that some of the things that I may have said in the past are wrong. We cannot judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes. Someone may look a certain way, but that does not give us the right to judge them and give them derogatory nicknames. 

I learned a lot from this presentation, and I feel a lot of other people should attend in the future and learn as well. All of the people in attendance were women; while it is true that not all aggression is targeted at women, it is safe to say that a majority of it is. If people are willing to learn about these issues, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel, it will be all the better for all involved. Education is the first step towards change, and there needs to be a big change if we want to end sexual aggression. 





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