by Desiree Lopez
South Plains College students were recently able to ask anonymous questions regarding sex, sexual abuse, STDs, and relationships during an event called Sex in the Dark.
The event was held on Sept. 16 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center on the Levelland campus.
The panel included: Jana Daniel, professor of sociology; Craig Allen, instructor of law enforcement and criminal justice; Dr. Peggy Skinner, chairperson of the Behavioral Science Department and professor of psychology; Samantha Curtis, employee at Texas Department of State Health Services; DeEtte Edens, associate director of health and wellness at SPC;, and Brant Farrar, professor of sociology and sponsor for SPECTRA. Dr. Lynne Cleavinger, dean of students at SPC, served as the emcee for the night.
Students wrote down questions on pieces of paper while one of the panelists came by to pick them up. Questions were hand-picked randomly by Dr. Cleavinger. All lights were turned off for anonymity, and glow sticks were passed around to provide some illumination. Condoms were also given away for free to students in attendance.
Whether students attended for extra credit or voluntarily, they left the event with a lot of useful information.
According to Daniel, there is a great need for sex education, particularly among SPC students.
“What we [department faculty] have found is that students across the state of Texas and other states don’t typically get comprehensive sex education,” explains Daniel. “So when they get here or become sexually active, they think they know everything, and there is so much that they don’t know.”
When discussing sexuality, it is important to have knowledge about it because it involves not only physical health but mental health too.
“It is also important for students to know the resources they have, because a lot of students don’t have a clue that they have them and that they are free,” says Daniel.
Professors and special guests enjoy being on the panel for Sex in the Dark, according to Daniel. They enjoy the interactions they receive from students when they discuss various topics about sex.
Daniel explains that the panelists continue to participate at Sex in the Dark because it is beneficial to students.
“We have a good time doing it [Sex in the Dark],” said Daniel. “Some students may have a little bit of hesitancy, but I think that after the event they begin to feel more open about it. We just want students to be safe.”
Faculty of the Behavioral Science Department and those at the Health and Wellness Center are available to answer any questions that students may have regarding sex, diseases, and sexual assault.
The difference between both departments is that professors are required to report any sexual assault or rape, while the Health and Wellness Center has confidentiality under the HIPAA, which is medical rules and guidelines.
It is encouraged that if someone is a victim of rape or sexual assault and wants to speak with a certified individual, speak with a professional counselor at the SPC Health and Wellness Center or call the Voice of Hope 24-hour crisis hotline, (806)763-RAPE (7273).