Wednesday, April 8, 2009

emergency contraception and birth control workshop

join us and spread the word!!

our annual EC/Birth control workshop will be held on 4/15 in metacalf lounge 7-8:30. A fabulous nurse from health service will join us as well as a representative from the EC boston network.

the physical, political and the real deal about the how's, what's and 'how do you do that, and how do i get some?' will be covered!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Girls Gone Wild at Tufts?? Not so much...

A recent Daily article titled “Girls Gone Wild,” by Logan Crane has been receiving a lot of attention and it’s easy to see why. Some students we’ve spoken to feel like it perpetrates misogyny and stereotypes while others defend Logan’s right to write what she wants to and readers’ right to simply stop reading.

However, I think that one of the most significant issues is really the concept of a relationship being “normal” that is full of mistrust and blame. Healthy relationships involve open communication which, depending on the individual (gender classifications and stereotypes aside) may be easier for some couples than others.

It’s safe to say, for me at least, that I’ve heard some horror stories about stalkers and psycho clingers but the behavior of the individuals who conducted themselves this way is something that is serious. Sure, it’s easy to laugh and dismiss it as the behavior of a complete nut, but at the basis of this behavior may be some truly significant issues.

According to the Tufts specific report the “Healthy Minds Study,” 54% of Tufts students have reported "mental or emotional problems which had impaired their academic performance the previous for weeks," and "35%reported they had needed professional help in the previous year, while only 17% have actually received counseling. Which tells us we need to work on how to get folks who are in need to counseling and lower the barriers. With the stress of classes, the increased responsibility that comes with living on our own, and the changes that we all undergo at this stage in our lives this is not surprising. In addition to all of this is the pressure to be fit, thin, and in shape that comes from the media. One of the girls Logan mentioned may have had crippling insecurities, serious depression, or both.

Blaming this behavior upon the other party diverts focus from the real issue. Perhaps it is true that the males involved really had been uncommunicative or lacking in understanding. I do not know them personally (in fact I do not know anyone involved, or Logan herself for that matter). But the belief that the man in a relationship has the role of the person who doesn’t want to communicate calls attention to another more serious matter than the behavior of someone in a specific situation. It accentuates the prevelance that stereotypes and sexism have in society even among educated, comparatively open-minded individuals. I’m not just talking about the negative icon of the over-emotional woman, but also about the concept of the male who possesses a chronic lack of feeling. Many excellent male writers have communicated their emotions through words for hundreds of years so this can hardly be true. Common sense combined with personal experience also helps to make it clear that this concept is erroneous.

Stalking consists of following someone, appearing at their home, class or work, making harassing phone calls and emails, leaving written messages or objects, and/or vandalizing someone’s property. Without a threat, stalking does not become a legal issue, but it may still be just as traumatizing to the victim and that party should not feel helpless. The fact is that stalking at Tufts DOES happen. Logan’s article may have made it seem like something that should be taken as part of campus life, but nobody should have to put up with it. Stalking a person is not ok. It is a violation of a person’s privacy and space, among other things.

Logan’s article can help us to focus upon issues that deserve attention here at Tufts. People feel the need for counseling here and it is available. Stereotypes do not just occur outside of this community and the perpetration of them is insidious enough to possibly have an effect upon more than just the way that we see others and they see us. They can affect our actions with people that we truly care about.

What do you think? How have these issues affected you and your friends, male and female? What types of relationships do we want anyway, and how are we getting them or not? Let us know.

Note: If you or someone that you know feels they are being stalked,harassed or assaulted, measures can be taken. The Sexual Violence Resource Coordinator can be reached weekdays from 9AM-5PM at (617)627-3752. The Counselor on Call can be reached at (617)627-3030 at all hours and on all days of the week.

For information about stalking: Stalking Resource Center

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center's sexual violence Facts and Stats and Resources available

Tufts Health Education Department's website at Health Services