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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Sexual health on campus: contraception, STIs and Title IX

Eight percent of Zeitgeist respondents reported experiencing sexual assault on Middlebury’s campus or during a Middlebury program, in contrast with last year’s 12%. Of those who have been victims of sexual assault, 75% identified as cisgender females.

Among respondents, survivors overwhelmingly decided not to report incidents of sexual assault — all in all, 90% did not report. Of those who did not report, respondents cited fear, a complicated reporting process, lack of support and power imbalances as reasons. Out of the 10% of victims that did report, two-thirds found themselves dissatisfied with how the process was handled.

Since last year’s Zeitgeist, there have been more efforts to promote sex and consent-focused education on Middlebury’s campus. This past fall, the SGA Sexual and Relationship Respect Committee worked to bring an in-person consent training workshop to campus for new students. Currently, Middlebury students are only required to watch online videos provided by Show Some Respect, in addition to bystander training presented by the Green Dot initiative

Condoms, pills and IUDs are the three most common methods that sexually-active Middlebury students use when engaging in sexual activity, according to Zeitgeist data. 8% of students turn to the withdrawal method, which is known to be significantly less effective than condoms, pills or IUDs. 

Of the 1,218 respondents, slightly more than half have been tested for STIs. Of those who have been tested, one in five said they only get tested when they are worried they might have something, as opposed to getting routinely checked. 

Students have had more exposure to on-campus organizations this year that aim to promote safer sex practices. This year, during orientation week, Sex Positive Education, College Style (SPECS) held a workshop table in Axinn for new students. SPECS was founded as a class project but later became a student organization dedicated to teaching students about safe and positive sex.

Rain Ji

Rain Ji '23 is a managing editor of The Campus. She previously served as an Arts & Culture editor.

She is majoring in International and Global Studies with a concentration in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, she studied abroad in Amman at the University of Jordan. Outside of academics, she enjoys watching Criminal Minds and skiing.