A Cornell expert on human sexuality will speak Wednesday on the dynamics of dating and sexual relationships as part of a two-day visit here to train students to lead workshops about date rape.
The University-wide lecture and subsequent training sessions represent the first efforts by the College to deal with date rape--which occurs when a casual acquaintance forces an unwilling partner to engage in sexual acts.
Cornell Professor of Human Sexuality Andrea Parrot will talk about "the issue of sexual communication how people talk about what they want," said Ellen Porter-Honnet, assistant dean for co-education and chairman of the Peer Harrassment Working Group. The group, established in the fall of 1985 to educate students about date rape, is partially funding Parrot's visit.
The speech itself will not focus on date rape, "but the more broad picture of how people date, how they make a decision on what they want," Porter-Honnet said.
On Thursday, Parrot will lead a three-hour training workshop for members of peer counseling groups--like Response, Room 13, and Contact--interested in leading future date rape workshops for students on campus. She also will meet with senior tutors, freshman proctors, sexual harrassment tutors and members of the sex crime unit of the Harvard Police Department.
"I think it's very important the subject gets increased attention so we can get people talking about it," said Charlotte Ellertson '87, co-director of Response, a peer counseling group that deals with sexual harrassment.
The speech and training workshops stem from a College effort to be more attentiveto dating dynamics, said Porter-Honnet. "We'retrying to help people start a dialogue in thefreshman dorms and houses on relationships," shesaid.
"As the public has become more aware andstarted to peel back the tattoos, we became moreaware that these problems exist and are in allcommunities," Porter-Honnet said.
Members of the peer harrassment committee willchoose 14 men and women to lead non-mandatoryfreshman workshops on date rape this fall to beheld throughout the Yard. The counselors will workin male-female pairs, screen videotaped datingscenarios and then lead discussions on the issuesraised.
Last spring, Ellertson and Kate Freeman '87circulated a petition calling for mandatoryworkshops on date rape to be held in all freshmandorms during freshman week. The students gatheredabout 1000 signatures in favor of the proposal.
After the College refused to institute such aprogram, the two began to work with the peerharrassment committee. The committee decided toinstitute a pilot program of non-mandatory daterape workshops and hired Parrot to help train thecounselors