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An explanation of the Sexual citizenship model for sexual assault and interpersonal violence prevention and education.

Sexual Citizenship is an acknowledgment that all humans are sexual beings and it is one’s responsibility to learn and grow for themselves, their partners and the world where our communities exist. As an education practice sexual citizenship utilizes five themes to build a foundation for learning and growth: the history of sex and sexual violence, consent and sexual communication, healthy relationships, sexual health and bystander intervention. In a world that centers whiteness and fails to acknowledge the narratives of LGBTQ+, racial and other marginalized groups, it is crucial these themes provide a comprehensive education that accounts for multiple identities.The concept of sexual citizenship utilizes the “Black Women’s Blueprint recommended Socio-Ecological model of prevention” which is an expanded version from the original socio-ecological model created by Urie Bronfenbrenner. 

History of Sex and Sexual Violence: 

In working to prevent sexual violence one must acknowledge the history of sexual violence and its role in maintaining structures of oppression within society. It is through this education that students learn the norms of sexual activity throughout history and how it should be understood as centering heteronormative, cisgender, male pleasure and reproduction. 

Consent and Sexual Communication: 

Sexual violence prevention and education includes consent education. Students come to campus lacking the fundamental knowledge necessary to develop positive and healthy sexual communication. This includes consent and building their confidence in communicating before, during and after engaging in sexual activity. Students should feel free and confident to discuss what is pleasurable, what doesn’t feel good, and name the activities they wish to participate in without ambiguity, euphemisms or metaphors. Students who have developed sexual communication and consent skills are more likely to engage in positive sexual encounters. 

Healthy Relationships: 

Students in college fall within the age range most likely to experience relationship violence and unhealthy relationships. As this is the case it is crucial students are provided the opportunity to develop the skills to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors. Students should be able to identify healthy relationships behaviors as well as exhibit them in their own relationships no matter the length of the relationship. 

Sexual Health:

Many students enter college lacking basic knowledge of sexual and reproductive health. As this is the case, it is pertinent that students are provided resources and programming that can help them learn more about their bodies and the bodies of their potential partners. Comprehensive sexual education is required to provide students with the confidence and knowledge necessary to understand their bodies as sexual beings. 

Bystander Intervention:

On the DePauw University campus, Greendot is the primary bystander intervention program. For more information on our Green Dot program, please follow this link. Bystander Intervention is not limited to intervening in physical instances of harm, but is necessary in all situations that fall within the spectrum of sexual violence.