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Men and women groups discuss aspects of sexuality

This week, John Brown University is focusing on sexuality and how that should look. Men and women gathered in separate groups Tuesday night to look at gender-specific topics. A panel of faculty and staff will present a panel on “Sexuality through Life’s Stages” in the J.Alvin Atrium at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“Stone’s Throw: Dealing with Sexual Abuse” men’s event
While most people probably think a male would address a group of males, especially on the topic of male sexual assault, Marie Gladwell of North West Arkansas Rape Crisis Center spoke instead. About 20 men attended the event at John Brown University on Tuesday.

Gladwell said that one of every six men will be sexually assaulted in their life. The female statistic is roughly one of two for life, but one of six for men is a larger number than most realize.

Gladwell wants to “change minds about some of the myths” surrounding male sexual assault, she said. She does this through education, and to let men know that “if something has happened to them that it’s not their fault, and there is help available.”

She discussed the issues surrounding a male sexual assault such as social stigma, silent victims, loss of masculinity, and fear that they will not be able to be the protector of their family and friends that they feel they should be.

Senior David Brown said the chance of sexual assault makes people raise their guard.

“It’s kinda sad to say, but when you’re in situations like you are out with friends at a bar, or just going our for a good time with your girlfriend you can’t really trust anybody,” he said. “Many times when men or women are assaulted, it’s because they aren’t aware of what is going on around them.”

Gladwell honed in on the idea that men feel insecure after they have been assaulted.

“When your body betrays you while you are being betrayed, there is a lot of shame there,” she said.

Some of the long-term affects of rape are PTSD, drug abuse, violence and aggression (especially for men), and high-risk behaviors.

Gladwell asked the men in attendance how many of them had their fathers sit down with them when they were younger to talk about how “right sex” should look with a girl. None of them raised their hands.

Gladwell warned the men not to “pester” friends who are showing signs of abuse. If the victim talks about suicide, then call a hotline. One resource at the University is the Counseling Center.

Junior Luke Koebele said people need to be careful with how they talk about rape.

“Just know that rape is something that occurs often, and to a lot of people. Don’t joke about it,” he said.”

Brown agreed.

“We need a culture shift from making light of rape situations and joking about it because it happens a lot, even with guys,” he said.

“The number of men here is shocking to me,” Gladwell said. “It says a lot of how you run your campus. It’s good.”

Need help?

  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) can be reached at 1-800-656-HOPE and lines are open at all times.
  • 1in6.org is a place for men (and women) to start being open about their being victims of abuse on an anonymous level.
  • NWA Rape Crisis Center can be reached at 1-800-794-4175 and lines are open at all times.

“Stewarding Sexuality: A Woman’s Journey at JBU” women’s event
Estrogen, fruit, and chocolate fountain? Yes, it was a women’s singleness event kind of night. Gobs of women gathered together in the basement of the University’s all-girl dorm to discuss what it means to be single. The discussion panel, led by junior Lauren Ware, a resident assistant in Mayfield, consisted of Meredith Baltz, resident director of Hutcheson; Maria Lehr, honors advisor; Grace Davis, associate professor of education; and Brooke Huizenga, degree completion enrollment specialist.

Together, the ladies delved into questions such as “What does Paul mean when he says that singleness is a gift?” “Is the ‘I don’t need a man attitude okay?’” “How does God reveal himself to you in your singleness?” and “What are some perks about being single verses being married?”

The women filled the night with laughter and good stories, mixed with great advice about how to embrace the single life. One of the best moments was when Grace Davis mentioned that being single does not look like treading water, being static. Instead, she encouraged the women to keep on pursuing life and living God’s plan. Standing still will never get you anywhere, she said.

Senior Megan Toney enjoyed going to the event because she thinks that the topic is “something that needs to be talked about. It’s often ignored, especially in a Christian culture.”

Heather Adams, a junior, said her biggest takeaway was “learning to be content in who you are.”

Sophomore Katherine Holderness reaffirmed these ladies, saying that after the panel discussion she felt empowered as a woman.

“This talk made me feel a lot of freedom in my singleness,” she said.