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University News

Love Your Body Day raises sex-ed awareness

By
Contributing Writer
Thursday, October 21, 2010

A lack of comprehensive sexual education is one of the greatest challenges facing today’s young people, a feminist activist told Macmillan 117 Wednesday evening as part of a day-long celebration of sexual health.

Love Your Body Day, held by Students for Choice, was “a day of celebration and a day to accept our bodies for what they are, whatever size,” said Cara Mones ’11, the group’s co-president.

The event was co-hosted by the Brown Sexual Health and Education Empowerment Council, Queer Alliance, Health Services, the Rhode Island National Organization for Women, the Sexual Health Awareness Group, and other organizations, according to the event’s Facebook page. Many of these organizations had tables on the Main Green for much of Wednesday afternoon.

Yoga and self-defense lessons took place throughout the afternoon. Students also had the opportunity to hear feminist activist and writer Shelby Knox speak in Macmillan 117 in the evening.

Knox, 24, spoke about sexual education and was the subject of the 2005 documentary, “The Education of Shelby Knox.” She is a blogger on feminism and sexual health for the Huffington Post and is a contributor for the The F-Word, a feminist quarterly.

“I’ll be talking to college students about how they can be active in the school community at Brown and the schools where they came from,” Knox told The Herald prior to her presentation.

Knox is from Lubbock, Tex., which she called the second most conservative town in the United States. When she was 15, she took a virginity pledge. It was “not something I thought that much about. It was something you had to do,” she told the predominantly female audience in Macmillan 117 on Wednesday night.

She explained that her interest in activism began when a high school friend became pregnant. Knox witnessed the town and school’s resulting castigation of her friend. She explained that young women would seem to disappear in her high school and come back the next year.

Knox was in a youth group that challenged the town school board over the school’s sexual education program, which taught only that students should be abstinent until marriage.

“I realized no one was going to speak for me or my peers,” she said.

Many abstinence-based programs teach blatantly incorrect facts, she said. She was taught that “half of homosexuals die before the age of 40,” she said.

“New York City still does not mandate comprehensive sex-education,” she said. “The school district is supposed to give us the best education that they could have.”

“Far too many schools are teaching abstinence only,” Knox told The Herald on Tuesday. “We can’t have young people all over the country getting different levels of facts.”

Knox never meant to make a career out of activism, she told the audience. “I found myself as the young activist face of sexual education,” she said.

“Imagine teaching words without poetry or teaching music without singing, clapping, and dancing,” Knox said, comparing this to teaching only abstinence.

“We have to stop treating sex as if it’s this horrible evil thing that we have to keep away from,” she said.

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