Making Sense of Sexual Consent

Think about the last time you had a sexual encounter. Did you get consent before moving to the next level? Did you give consent before your partner moved forward? Not sure? Well, read on to understand the ins and outs of consent.

What is consent?
Consent is an agreement between partners to engage in sexual activity. Consent is given freely with the clear understanding of what each partner wants and is okay with. Verbal consent is especially important in new relationships. Nonverbal consent, such as moaning or pulling someone closer, can be used once partners feel comfortable with one another. Consent is never coerced or assumed- regardless of the length of the relationship or previous encounters.

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Just ask!
If you are unsure about whether or not your partner would like to have sex, just ask! That is what consent is all about. Besides, nothing is hotter than being told your partner wants you.

 
What if he or she is drunk or high?
Many think that it is okay to “hookup” when they are drunk or high, however a person cannot give consent to sexual behaviors when their decision-making process is thrown off by alcohol or other drugs. No answer is not a “yes”, so having sex with someone who is incoherent or passed out is sexual assault. If you see someone at a party slurring their words or stumbling, make sure they get home safely with people that they can trust.

 
It’s okay to say No.
• Say the word no firmly. If your partner is confused then explain that you are not comfortable.
• Don’t feel pressured by lines like “you’re a prude” or “all of your friends are doing it.” Any reason behind your “no” is reason enough!
• Be assertive. Be confident. Be direct.

 

Remember, consent is key to any sexual activity. Be sure to listen to the words of your partner and to examine their body language. They say “it takes two to tango”, and it definitely takes two to engage in consensual sex!

Written by Desiree Heller, Volunteer

A Social Epidemic?

Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Using social media is like second nature to college students; we’ve grown up with them. With 1 in 4 people using Facebook or Twitter worldwide, social networking is becoming a more common part of our culture. Although believed to be a way to connect friends together, Facebook and other social media sites have recently received criticism over their impact on users and activism efforts.

Social media has taken away face-to-face interactions. Increasingly users of social media are becoming dependent on mediated communication. Research shows that although we may be communicating more, the connections we establish with people have become weaker because of the lack of “real time” interactions. It may be more difficult to meet in person, but it is worth it in the long run.

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Social media gives users constant access to people, and allows them to share any aspect or event of their life. Content shared on social media accounts can create a gold standard of limited experiences, making one believe that their own life fails in comparison to their peers. It’s similar to comparing an entire book, to a couple of the most interesting pages of another. Next time you’re scrolling remember that no person’s life is as glamorous as their social media account.

Facebook activism has come under fire in the past year by the ad campaign titled “Liking isn’t helping”. The campaign makes the claim that “liking” on Facebook gives users a false sense of accomplishment when it comes to social issues and making a difference. The images used in the campaign depict sad but real problems in our world, surrounded by thumbs up, or ‘liking’ the issue.

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The viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge also had its critics. You cannot deny that the funds produced from the internet sensation are impressive- 41.8 Million dollars from July 29th to August 21stThe Ice Bucket Challenge made a difference and demonstrates that social media can be used to advocate for a cause or provide awareness. However, many critics felt that posting a video of dumping ice water on your head did not make the same impact as donating to the cause.

Social media outlets have been used to help connect people with other people and events around the world- more frequently though, social media has led to missed connections and misinformation. Use social media wisely.

Written by Dave Parsons, Peer Educator

Don’t be a Fool, Check your Jewels

Treat your family jewels like they’re precious! If there’s one thing a guy should be familiar with, it’s his balls! How many times do you check your jewels? Make time for a self-examination!

One of the best times to check out your package is when you already are handling it! Do a self-exam in the shower. It’s the best time since your sac will be soft and relaxed. Plus, it only adds an extra minute and you’re already handling your junk!

Steps to a Self-Exam:

1. Find a good time at least once a month to do a self-exam.

2. Check only one testicle at a time.

3. Hold your testicle between your thumb and fingers.

4. Handle your package with care, and gently roll one testicle.

5. Feel around the testicle and scrotum. Also locate the epididymis at the back of the testicle, it feels like a coiled tube. Check for enlargement of the testicle and/or a small lump or area of hardness.

6. Check out your other gonad!

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If you are worried you have a complication with your testicles don’t be afraid to ask! Contact your family physician or check out some more information at the Office of Wellness Promotion or online at:

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Testicular_self_examination

http://www.pamf.org/teen/health/malehealth/testicularhealth.html

 

Written by Matt Keller, Peer Educator

Fall in Love with Running

run4Exercising is a great way to stay happy, healthy and in shape, but how do you know which activity is best for you? While some people are involved in recreational sports, others elect to dance, and many choose to run. The great thing about running is that it can be done any time of the year and fall may be one of the best seasons to go on an outdoor run. Here are a few things to consider before you take off:

What do I wear?

It’s best to pick an outfit that will keep you comfortable for the entire duration of your run. If the weather calls for rain, make sure to wear a rain jacket and a pair of longer pants. If it’s colder outside, layer up with a sweatshirt jacket, gloves, and/or a hat as all of these items can be taken off if you get hot. If you are looking for a more intense workout, add layers to increase your sweat. For more specific information tailored to the running experience you desire, visit http://www.runnersworld.com/what-to-wear.

Do I need to do anything before I run?

Make sure to fuel your body with water a few hours before you go on a run so you do not risk dehydration. It is also in your best interest to avoid heavy meals as they will be hard to digest during your run, and may cause you serious discomfort.
Another really important thing to keep in mind is stretching both before and after your workout. Stretching before running is often skipped, but it’s necessary to warm up your muscles and prevent possible injury.

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Where do I Run?

It’s always best to develop a route in an environment you are comfortable navigating. A college campus or community neighborhood is an excellent place to start. When choosing a location, look for areas that are visually stimulating, well lit, safe, and contain a significant number of sidewalks or designated running trails. Fall is one of the best seasons to exercise outdoors because of the beauty of the season. The scenery and cool breeze can help you forget that you are exercising!

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How far do I run?

As with starting any new workout regimen, begin with a small distance and gradually work your way up to a more challenging routine. The first run can be considered your experimental workout. This is when you can decide what distance is right for you, and whether your body can handle more or less. As you make this decision you want to be mindful that the experience is supposed to be challenging, but should not cause you any pain, or serious difficulty breathing. If this happens, consult your physician for further assistance before you continue.

clockWritten by DeVonna Smith, Peer Educator

What in the World is “World Food Day”?

October 16th is World Food Day. If you aren’t sure what that means, it is the day that celebrates the formation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Quebec, Canada on October 16, 1945. Millions of people from almost every country come together and commit to a common goal: to end world hunger.

World Food day is “a day of action against hunger”. Every year on this date, advocates team up to raise awareness and engage others in the fight against hunger. Advocates believe in a zero tolerance policy for hunger for two specific reasons:wfd

1. The right to food is a basic human right.
Our world is huge, as is the number of people who inhabit it! Statistics show that 1 in 9 people live in chronic hunger. Hunger and malnutrition deeply affect individuals, and unfortunately a majority of those individuals are children. Advocates of World Food Day believe that the issues of hunger and malnutrition need to be addressed because all humans should be free from hunger.

2. Hunger can be ended in our lifetime.
Statistics show that the planet produces enough food to feed everyone on it. Efforts have been made by world leaders to apply that fact and take action to end hunger. Fourteen years ago, they signed a commitment to achieve several Millennium Development goals by 2015. The number one goal on that list is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Since that was signed, poverty has decreased and targets have been reached with significant progress, supporting the belief that hunger can in fact be ended in our lifetime.

Hungry for more about World Food Day and what you can do to help the cause? Check out their website to find more statistics, events, and food for thought.

http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/did-you-know

Written by Allie Fonseca, Peer Educator

October Boo-zin’

October is an exciting month at West Chester University. Fall Break gives way to Homecoming, Halloween, and increased excitement. With this excitement may lead to an increased presence of alcohol around campus, and with that the potential to feel pressured to start drinking, or drink more than you’re used to. Stay safe during the upcoming festivities and still enjoy the party!

Ways to be prepared when you go out:
-Go out/go home with a group of friends.

-Make sure you have the contact information of the people you go out with, and that you have a charged phone.

-In case you’re caught in a tough situation, know who you can call:
• Have WCU Public Safety in your phone (610-436-3311)
• Type in “Aaa” in front of your emergency contacts so they are the first ones available to you.
• Remember to call 911 instead of Public Safety if you’re off-campus

- Eat before you drink. Something rich in fats and proteins is best.

- Pour your own drinks so you know how much alcohol your drink contains.

- Don’t mix energy drinks and liquor. The two send mixed messages to your brain and body.

- Know how much you plan on drinking and stick to that number. Need help keeping track? Use the lines on your cup!

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Try one of these lines if you don’t want to drink, or when you’ve had enough:

-“I have work/another commitment tomorrow morning”

-“I don’t drink”

-“I’ve had enough tonight” or “I’m not feeling too great right now”

-Having a non-alcoholic drink in your hand can act as a signal to others

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Written by Dave Parsons, Peer Educator

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: More Than Meets the Eye

bddIt is not uncommon to have something that you don’t like about your appearance. Our eyes are prone to focus on our “imperfections”, be it a birthmark, a crooked tooth, or maybe the shape of a nose. Although we may fret over these things, they typically don’t interfere with our daily lives.
There are people, however, that are greatly impacted by what is reflected in the mirror. These “flaws” take over their thoughts and dictate life choices. These people are classified as having Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a body-image disorder that affects all types of people. This disorder involves the persistent concern or preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance. These thoughts can lead to depression, anxiety, and severe emotional distress that can interfere with daily life, such as missing class, work, and avoiding social situations.

Characteristics of BDD
Those with BDD can dislike any part of their body. They often find a flaw in their hair, nose, skin, chest or stomach. A slight “imperfection” is extremely significant and prominent to a person with BDD.
People with BDD may deal with these thoughts in a drastic way that can lead to extreme and harmful behavior such as plastic surgery, eating disorders, and self-harm.

bdd2Symptoms of BDD
Individuals with BDD can develop obsessive tendencies about their appearance that can take hours out of their day. Other behaviors associated with BDD include:

• comparing appearance to others
• seeking surgery
• excessively checking mirrors
• avoiding mirrors
• skin picking
• excessive grooming/exercise

Treatment
-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one way BDD is treated. This involves teaching patients to recognize irrational thoughts and work towards changing negative thought patterns.
-Antidepressants are also commonly used in treated BDD. These are used to help relieve obsessive and compulsive symptoms of BDD.

To learn more about how BDD is tested and diagnosed, check out

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20029953

 

Written by Peer Educator Allie Fonseca

Midterm Madness

Well, it’s about that time! We are just about halfway through the semester, which means midterm season is on its way! Here are some tips to stay on track while preparing for midterms!stress

 

Set goals! Prioritize and set small, obtainable goals. For example, let’s say you plan to study for one hour- if you successfully complete an hour of studying with no distractions, reward yourself by ending your night watching your favorite television show!

Manage your time. Keep a to-do list in order to help manage your time in an efficient way. Break bigger projects into smaller ones. Be sure to take study breaks and space out your study sessions. Try studying for fifty minutes and then taking a ten minute break. “Cramming” for 6 hours the night before your test isn’t going to help you retain the information.

Limit distractions. First, find a quiet, peaceful environment. The third floor of Sykes and the library are great places to study! To stay on task, turn off your cell phone, put it on silent, or tuck it away in your backpack- we all know how hard it is to refrain from checking a text message when our phones go off!

Stay on top of studying. Studying throughout the semester will help you retain information. A general rule of thumb suggests that for every hour spent in class, you should spend two hours studying. Take notes, make flashcards, highlight, or review and read material as often as necessary. Also try using creative memory strategies to help you remember key concepts.

Stay healthy. The more we stress, the more we get sick. Prolonged high levels of stress lower your immune system. The last thing anyone needs is to get sick right before a big test! Stay hydrated, eat healthy snacks and get plenty of rest! Don’t share utensils or food with friends, wash your hands, and get your free flu shot at student health services.

 

Take advantage of on-campus resources. The LARC offers free tutoring for a large variety of courses. If you are struggling in a class, head to the LARC (located at 224 Lawrence Center) and sign up! Don’t be afraid to go to a professor’s office hours with questions- they are here to help.

 

Written by Christina Gantt, Peer Educator

Running the Right Way!

runRunning is one of the most convenient ways to exercise- you can do it anywhere! But have you ever thought about the impact running has on your bones and joints? Running or jogging on a sidewalk, a concrete road, or any hard surface can negatively affect the health of the bones and joints in your legs. Here are some alternative surfaces that could benefit your health during your routine exercises.

Grass
– Grass is soft and easy on the legs in terms of impact
– Resistance makes your muscles work harder and builds strength
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Woodland Trails
– Softer impact with more hills to increase muscle
– Scenic areas help keep you distracted and wanting to come back

Sand
– Provides good resistance for training and strengthening legs
– Gives an opportunity to run barefoot
– The soft surface decreases the risk of injuries

Picking the right shoe can also make a difference in your running experience. Running sneakers come in many varieties, and picking the perfect pair of shoes can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some tips to think about while shopping for your next pair!

- Pick a shoe that is light and flexible. Your feet should never feel crammed, heavy, or stuck.
- Know your feet – what size? Do you have a normal arch, high arch, or are you flat footed? What is your pronation (how does your foot roll when you walk)?
- What kind of surface will you be running on? Do you need extra cushion or stabilization?

run3                   Written by Courtney Miklos, Volunteer

Stay Healthy This Cold & Flu Season

The common cold and flu can spread very easily on a college campus. Think about all the surfaces that you touch during the day and how many other people have touched those surfaces too. Every year up to 20% of people living in the United States become ill with the flu, and more than 200,000 people end up in the hospital due to complications.

Getting sick can be easily avoided if you follow these simple suggestions:
• Wash your hands
• Avoid contact with sick people flu
• Get plenty of rest
• Don’t touch your face
• Get your FREE flu shot at Student Health Services

Many students do not receive their flu shot because they do not fully understand the seasonal flu. Here’s what you need to know:

How does the seasonal flu spread?
You can catch the flu when someone with the virus coughs, talks, or sneezes, and their bodily fluid land in your nose or mouth. However, it is also possible to touch a surface with the virus on it, then touch your face and get the flu.

What is the best way to protect myself?
The flu vaccine provides the best protection against seasonal flu.
How long does the illness last?
Usually the seasonal flu lasts about one to two weeks. Most people are contagious one day before any signs or symptoms appear, and they can continue to infect others up to five to seven days after their symptoms develop.

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Get your FREE flu shot! Visit wcupa.edu/health to find out about flu shot clinics around campus or visit Student Health Services in Commonwealth Hall.

 
Written by Rachel Kile, Peer Educator