By: Morgan Letizia
College is a time of self-discovery for many students, especially when it comes to sexual exploration.
However, sexual health and safety should take priority and Shenandoah students should be aware of all the resources offered to them that can ensure their health and safety.
Many students come out of high school with little to no education on sexual health, safety, and consent and depend on college to learn and experience these things.
All freshmen students are required to attend “The 411” where they are taught the importance of consent and safety regarding sexual activity and alcohol.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 50 percent of the 20 million new STDsdiagnosed each year are amongyoung people between the ages of 15–24 years. A large percentage of these cases occur among college students, who often underestimate the risks of having unprotected sex.”
It’s a known fact that college students are often struggling for money, but sexual health and safety is priceless. Low funds are not an excuse for Shenandoah students to have unprotected sex that could result in STIs or unwanted pregnancy, especially with how accessible Shenandoah makes contraception.
Shenandoah offers free contraception, such as male/female condoms, dental dams, and lubricant, in The [Not Just] Women’s Center, The Mosaic Center, and The Wilkin’s Wellness Center.
The [Not Just] Women’s Center, located next to the Wilkin’s Wellness Center, also offers confidential meetings, Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, with trained peer mentors to discuss and provide resources for concerns and incidents regarding sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence.
The [Not Just] Women’s Center also holds many campaign events in the Brandt Student Center, providing education on consent, STDs, sexual assault awareness, the relationship between sex and alcohol, among others. There is also always free contraception supplied at these events.
Shenandoah also offers free HIV/AIDS testing at specific times throughout the year, which is usually advertised around campus beforehand.
That being said, many students have expressed that it would be beneficial if Shenandoah offered full STD/STI screenings at all times.
“I think the cost is what keeps a lot of people from getting tested, because it can be really expensive.” says Langston McCatty, a junior at Shenandoah.
Sexual security is still considered a somewhat taboo subject. However, with the rise of STI rates and the ever-present fight to end sexual assault and harassment, this issue is too important to avoid talking about.