By Rachel Douglass
Photos in slide show provided by Kelsey Sweet
Photo of the panel by Nettie Crowder Oliverio
Sex in the art scene: a community forum was held downstairs in the Pioneer Theater on April 18th. Kelsey Sweet was the host of the event and has been working hard on this controversial topic for several years. In 2014, Sweet was involved in the Open Jar: A Potential Romance and created the Unicorn/ Alcorn. A free-form vehicle to broach the topic of sexual assault, that gives people the feeling of freedom and happiness. Shortly afterward, Sweet was given a proclamation from Washoe County that April would be made Sexual Awareness month. After a controversial allegation in our own backyard and the Me Too Movement, Sweet felt a need to readdress the issue. The discussion was focused on solutions and creating a place for healing.
The forum started with Gongs provided by, Linda Azar and Crystal bowls by Timothy Glenn. Also attending for support were Nevada’s Confidential Address Program, Safe Embrace, and the Suicide Prevention Information. If anyone felt in crisis there was a Safe Corner for people to sit and have volunteers comfort them.
Once the forum started Monica Jayne, Life Coach of Unabashed Badassery and Erotic Blueprints© created the container for all participants to raise their hand in agreement for:
- Consent- Agreement
- Personal Responsibility; Taking care of ourselves. Going to the Safe Corner
- Confidentiality- What we hear, Stays here, Empowering Sexuality
First Presenter stepped in from out of town Marti Stanly, LCWS and Erotic blueprints, Coach specializing in trauma and sexuality.
Everyone experiences trauma differently. Someone will completely blackout or remember every detail. The common experience will be to create a narrative to make sense of it all. Most victims will be left trying to understand, what they did to deserve the violation. This leaves the victim in a state avoiding life for security. The good news is that trauma is 100% curable. So if you have a loved one who has suffered a sexual assault the best things you can do is:
- Don’t make assumptions- Judgments; on how they should be reacting.
- Avoid Validating or Empowering.
- Don’t question- Just Believe them.
- Offer support- What do they need?
- Reinforce this isn’t their fault- They didn’t deserve it. Ask for consent for physical touch.
Second Presenter, Anne More, Certified Somatic Sexuality Educator and Erotic Blueprints Coach, also stepped in from out of town via Zoom. More, shared her personal history of being a sexual assault victim as a child and the pain in growing up with such a secret. Today she has used this experience to help others.
Third Presenter, Steve Hedrick, has had training in working with juvenile perpetrators at Hand Up Homes for Youth, a rehab center for juveniles who have committed sex crimes. He gave great insight that most of these children have come from homes with instability and violence. Often times they are victims of sexual assault themselves. The circle of violence is baffling and needs to be addressed with compassion and care.
The Last Presenter was Monica Jayne who sent the safe container and does a lot of outreach work in our community. Monica Jayne facilitates, Freaky Fridays at The Studio and upcoming Consent Conversations at the Morris Burner Hostel. I completely appreciated the improv reenactment she showed what all the variations of what a firm NO! looks like.
After the presenters finished, the floor was opened to the attendees to ask questions. I was quite impressed by our conversation. Within our agreement I am limited to what I can share. But I will a little bit, because we are all affected by this epidemic or such an event wouldn’t have been created.
The first question was, how do we proceed when two people we care about are caught in the crossfire of this epidemic? We are all affected…
More Men participated than woman in the talk back… this was relieving, for me. Kelsey Sweet fielded most questions as the host of the event and answered with knowledge, and compassion.
I think her goal of looking for solutions and creating a place for healing and conversations was definitely realized.