SCSU grad interns spill the tea on sexual safety during pandemic times
Amanda Cavoto – Arts & Entertainment Editor
VPAS The Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy and Support Center hosted an open discussion for students on Instagram Live on Friday, April 17 on sexual health and safety and how the current pandemic affects personal relationships.
The discussion consisted of two members of VPAS doing a joint livestream to talk about topics such as affirmative consent, STD prevention and how important it is to practice social distancing during the pandemic, even to those that have a relationship. They also gave advice to students for unrelated topics, such as dealing with online assignments and how to register for classes next semester.
“It’s such a weird time to be applying and dealing with admissions and all of that,” said Nikita Reyes, a Southern alumna. “It makes everything a little bit harder now.”
Reyes and Sabrina St. Juste, a Southern alumna and gradate intern at VPAS work under with the Office of Student Affairs and are dedicated to helping students, especially in this chaotic and unusual time. They talked about the importance of practicing abstinence at this time for your own health and to practicing social distancing from everyone.
They both also talked about the different Planned Parenthoods that are still open should you students need anything right now.
“I wouldn’t go to a clinic right now. I would say Planned Parenthood is the best option,” said St. Juste.
Reyes discussed the other resources that will be available to students when the campus reopens, such as the Condom Owl, which is a service online that allows you to fill out a form and get condoms delivered to your dorm.
“You’re able to make an order once a month. It gets delivered to your dorm,” said Reyes. “If you commute, you can just come and pick it up.”
They also suggested that people feel free to reach out for any additional questions they may have about the coronavirus, sexual health, or any other miscellaneous things students may be struggling with. They recommended to either talk to someone on campus and offered themselves as people that students can go to for help.
“Even if the question doesn’t pertain to this discussion, slide into our [direct messages],” said Reyes during the livestream. “It could literally be something off topic that has nothing to do with what we offer; we’ll connect you to the right resources.”
Reyes said she recommends students reach out to them during the quarantine, as it is a “perfect time to practice abstinence.
“That way, it can make things a little easier, not only on your behalf, but it helps everyone in the medical field.”
They said that administering STD tests is not a priority at the moment in hospitals and doctor’s offices, as everyone is focused on the coronavirus. “It’s hard right now for people to even try to get
tested for [sexually transmitted diseases] or pregnancies,” said Reyes. “The best thing you can do right now is stay safe and keep everyone around you safe.”
They also mentioned resources students have at their disposal if they need help, such as the university advocates who are on call 24/7 to assist students if they are struggling with any sexual misconduct or abuse. They also are there to support those who are being stalked, bullied or assaulted.
“We just want to let students know that we are here to support them,” said St. Juste. “Whether it happened yesterday or five years ago, it doesn’t matter. We’re here to support you.