Thursday, October 29, 2009


Safe is sexy and we have proof: the first high fashion “must have” accessory for safe sex, created with a woman’s sensibility of style and discretion in mind.

We have the pleasure of knowing a socially conscious mother/daughter duo whose mission is to empower women to make safe sex a priority; to help women raise their personal requirements by offering them a beautiful reason to carry condoms. Together, Marsha Bartenetti and her daughter Rachael Sudul developed their award-winning JUST IN CASE® line of intimacy compacts, redefining personal care to include sexual health. And they bring a whole lot of sass and style to the cause.

Taking charge of your sexual health can be fashionable with a JUST IN CASE® accessory with mirror and hidden compartment for condoms. This little trend just might save a life.


What inspired JUST IN CASE®?

Marsha: It was back in 1980, believe it or not, before HIV/AIDS was known to us and STD’s became an epidemic that I first came up wit the idea for JUST IN CASE®. I was having dinner with my then neighbor in Northern California – Dr. Carl Djerassi. Carl is a renowned chemist who invented the birth control pill. We were discussing birth control – and the subject of condoms came up. He said they were still one of the best means of contraception – but that they just had a bad image – Since I was in the Entertainment Industry, he said, and was creative, I should come up with something to change that. And thought about it I did. In fact, it was directly after that dinner that I visualized the entire concept of a compact for women that held condoms. Women had historically been the ones responsible in birth control and it just made sense to me. But, remember, it was 1980 – so everyone I brought the idea to laughed at me and said, “No woman is going to carry a condom!”

No one knew the devastation of HIV/AIDS – and sexual protection was only thought of to keep from having an unplanned pregnancy – STD’s were not in society’s pulse of understanding, either.

The idea haunted me for years – I knew women would love this product. I, of course, had discussed it with my daughter over that time. Finally a few years back Rachael and I talked about it seriously again. She wanted to join me in getting it out there and believed it was time. We began our partnership – and research and development – I took $$ I had earned from doing voice-overs, Rachael cashed in some of her stocks and off we went!

And we have never looked back.

We are committed to this not only as a fabulous product for women – but as agents for change in what has become a dire situation women are facing in the area of sexual consciousness and health.

Mine was definitely an idea before its’ time. And now, 32 years later - having unprotected sex is like playing a game of Russian roulette. One’s life may actually be at stake. JUST IN CASE® is a product whose time has come – and we are proud to have created this product for women. Our company continues to evolve as do the customers we serve; with one thing in mind to: Love Well. Love Wisely.®

What’s your ideal customer?

Rachael: Our ideal customer is a woman who takes her education/information to the next level of pro-action. If she has decided to be sexually active, she takes an active role in her sexual health. She is not afraid to ask her partner questions about his health and share her own concerns. She is a woman who finds strength in discretion and courage in honesty. She is a strong woman even when she is at her most vulnerable place… and that strength gives her partner comfort to be vulnerable and honest with her as well.

The customer who inspires us is the woman who is just learning how important her sexual health is… and how boundaries and requirements don’t push partners away but rather teach them how she wants to be treated. We keep the conversation alive for her to join in so she may become our “ideal” customer.

How do the JUST IN CASE® intimacy compacts contribute to a sexually empowered culture?

Marsha: We believe in the power of education, no question about it. But, we also know the power of trend. Together, we have a huge potential for change – in a positive direction.

JUST IN CASE® products are the tool that creates confidence. And when a woman has inner confidence it radiates in all areas of her life. She will make better choices.

This is not a man/woman debate – this is the integration of honoring and love between a couple – raising the requirements from a woman’s part allows her man to see her in a whole new light – and will trigger an innate man’s desire to look after his woman and protect her - in a truly feminine sense – as a truly masculine man. If she has high regard for herself – and holds that before anyone else – and does it in a non-aggressive way – but, from within - which is a strength beyond the battle of the sexes – it is integrative and very powerful. And elevates the bar of behavior.

Remember – at the time you are about to have sex – the brain is not in charge – so what you “know” won’t necessarily kick in - in a matter of seconds you could make a poor choice that might affect your life forever – This is usually when the pleas to God begin…hoping you aren’t pregnant, have an STD..or HIV/AIDS. Having your own protection will spark something in a matter of seconds that will trigger a good choice. You will actually have what you need to protect you –with you - and take an active step to be in charge of your future.

We are creating a bridge between beauty and sexual health.

And our trend is to honor women – to honor their sensibility for style and discretion – and to honor themselves when it comes to sexual health choices. And what a beautiful way to look after yourself and carry protection!

Remember - we are all about the pretty! And look for our new products to come out in early 2010. We are over the moon excited about what’s next!

In addition to offering really great products what sorts of community efforts/ philanthropic projects does Just in Case, Inc. support?

Rachael: We support a large number of philanthropic efforts because that has always been a core element of our business model, but of course there have been a few that really stood out for us. We have been a sponsor for Macy’s Passport, a phenomenal fashion show event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars that directly impact community AIDS organizations and AIDS research. We also held a contest across the US where people could nominate their local women’s non-profit clinic or organization. We chose one clinic per state entered and sent them a case of our Classic JUST IN CASE® Compacts to use at their discretion. The winning clinics used the compacts for outreach events, and to give to clients. We had a nurse from one of the winning clinics write us an email about the impact the compacts had on some of her clients. She gives a class on STDs and sexual health to women who are about to be released from prison. She said she is usually met with very blank stares during these courses but once she introduced the compacts, the tone in the class was shifted and there was a little excitement... they were given something beautiful that reminded them that they are beautiful women and that they are worth taking care of. Our hope is that those women remembered that beyond their class and taught the girls and women around them the same thing, that we are all beautiful and worth the tremendous effort to keep ourselves healthy and strong in all aspects of our lives.

My mom and I also had the privilege of speaking to a class of high school girls during a health class. In the beginning the girls were guarded and “tough”… with a defensiveness of “I don’t need a talk from you; I know what I’m doing.” When they saw the compacts, the girls opened up to us and it gave them a feeling that we weren’t there to dictate to them what they were going to do with their lives, but have a conversation with them about how to make the right decisions for themselves. Questions they will want to have answered when the time is right, and requirements they will have for all of their partners whether or not they choose to be sexually active.

Sex is a morally charged issue, and when we talk about sex the conversation can get clouded with mores, guilt, misinformation, and blame… when we can talk factually without pointing fingers we can get so much more accomplished. Sex is a profound and deep way to communicate and bond with your partner; it can also bring incredible distress and consequences when it isn’t treated with the respect and understanding it requires. We will continue to work with women’s groups in the US and abroad to keep the conversation alive.

If you could do anything other than the work that you do what would it be?

Marsha: We have so much work to do at JUST IN CASE® - We’ve just gotten started. And we are so excited about where our company is headed. We also want to start a foundation.

Outside of JUST IN CASE - I am an artist – my roots are in singing/acting/writing – I would get back on stage and sing – and get my screenplay in production. And there is always the element of the message I want to impart – and that is –to re-connect with who you are – know the power of truly knowing yourself – and the beauty of that in the larger scheme of life. I believe it’s all about remembering what we already really know – and have forgotten.

That we matter – and that we have something wonderful to contribute while we are here on earth - And I will be a voice for that no matter what the genre happens to be.

You do so much for others, what do you do to take care of you?

Rachael: I have two small children so I “take care of myself” in little tid bits! I read when I can (LOVE my Kindle!!) I exercise, and I take the time (sometimes it’s only 10 minutes) to look around at all I have to be grateful for. On those more challenging days I am grateful for the basics…my family’s health, the roof over my head, and the opportunity to share my thoughts and gifts with so many women through a product that I am tremendously proud of. Being grateful fills me when I feel overwhelmed, then I’m able to reach out even further.

Featured Product:

Classic Conversations Gift Pack

The perfect way to start a very important conversation. JUST IN CASE® intimacy compacts and Sexversation® cards together can encourage honest and healthy conversations about sex and sexual health. Get yours today! * Be sure to use the LOVEWELL code during checkout for a discount.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Sexy Halloween

by Sabrina Sadler, Social Outreach Intern

Halloween is just a few days away! Have you picked out your costume yet? Will it be sexy, classy or scary?

It wasn’t until recently that I realized Halloween has become more about dressing sexy rather than a day to be anything you want. At the costume shop there is a section for children’s costumes, men’s costumes, and then the section for women, which seems to be over populated with sexy costumes.

When did Halloween become about women showing skin? I rarely see men trying to show off their legs in a Halloween costume. Halloween is a day for kids to be kids and adults to be kids again, be anything we want to be, right?

Is it just me or has this October holiday become less about dressing up and more about sex appeal? As women, are we dressing sexy for ourselves? For the opposite sex? To feel desired?

Does this say anything about sex in our culture?

Friday, October 23, 2009

When Patients are Denied: The Battle Over Mental Health Benefits

a decision no one should have to face

Can you imagine being faced with the decision to risk losing your health insurance or risk contracting AIDS?

Rape Victim's Choice: Risk AIDS or Health Insurance?

The Huffington Post - Danielle Ivory
First Posted 10/21/2009

Christina Turner feared that she might have been sexually assaulted after two men slipped her a knockout drug. She thought she was taking proper precautions when her doctor prescribed a month's worth of anti-AIDS medicine.

Only later did she learn that she had made herself all but uninsurable.

Turner had let the men buy her drinks at a bar in Fort Lauderdale. The next thing she knew, she said, she was lying on a roadside with cuts and bruises that indicated she had been raped. She never developed an HIV infection. But months later, when she lost her health insurance and sought new coverage, she ran into a problem.

Turner, 45, who used to be a health insurance underwriter herself, said the insurance companies examined her health records. Even after she explained the assault, the insurers would not sell her a policy because the HIV medication raised too many health questions. They told her they might reconsider in three or more years if she could prove that she was still AIDS-free.

Stories of how victims of sexual assault can get tangled in the health insurance system have been one result of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund's citizen journalism project, which is calling on readers to provide information and anecdotes about the inner workings of the insurance industry. The project aims to uncover details and data that can inform the larger debate over how to fix the nation's health care system. As the Investigative Fund reported in September, health insurance companies are not required to make public their records on how often claims are denied and for what reasons.

Some women have contacted the Investigative Fund to say they were deemed ineligible for health insurance because they had a pre-existing condition as a result of a rape, such as post traumatic stress disorder or a sexually transmitted disease. Other patients and therapists wrote in with allegations that insurers are routinely denying long-term mental health care to women who have been sexually assaulted.

Susan Pisano, spokeswoman for the health insurance industry's largest trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans, said insurers do not discriminate against victims of sexual assault and ordinarily would not even know if a patient had been raped.

"These issues you are bringing up, they deserve to be brought up," said Pisano. "People who have experienced rape and sexual assault are victims and we want them to be in a system where everyone is covered."

Turner's story about HIV drugs is not unusual, said Cindy Holtzman, an insurance agent and expert in medical billing at Medical Refund Service, Inc. of Marietta, Ga. Insurers generally categorize HIV-positive people as having a pre-existing condition and deny them coverage. Holtzman said that health insurance companies also consistently decline coverage for anyone who has taken anti-HIV drugs, even if they test negative for the virus. "It's basically an automatic no," she said.

Pisano, of the insurance trade group, said: "If you put down on a form that you are or were taking anti-HIV drugs at any time, they [the insurance companies] are going to understand that you are or were in treatment for HIV, period," she said. "That could be a factor in determining whether you get coverage."

Some doctors and nurses said that the industry's policy is not medically sound. "The chance of a rape victim actually contracting AIDS is very low. It doesn't make any sense to use that as a calculus for determining who get health insurance," said Dr. Alex Schafir, faculty instructor at Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Ore.

Nurses who deal with sexual assault cases say the industry's policy creates a significant problem for those treating women who have been assaulted. "It's difficult enough to make sure that rape victims take the drugs," said Diana Faugno, a forensic nurse in California and board director of End Violence Against Women International. "What are we supposed to tell women now? Well, I guess you have a choice - you can risk your health insurance or you can risk AIDS. Go ahead and choose."

Turner, now a life and casualty insurance agent, said she went without health coverage for three years after the attack. She second-guesses her decision to take the HIV drugs. "I'm going to be penalized my whole life because of this," she said.

Several women told the Investigative Fund that after being sexually assaulted they had been denied care or ruled ineligible for health insurance because of what were deemed pre-existing conditions stemming from their assaults -- particularly post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

A 38-year-old woman in Ithaca, N.Y., said she was raped last year and then penalized by insurers because in giving her medical history she mentioned an assault she suffered in college 17 years earlier. The woman, Kimberly Fallon, told a nurse about the previous attack and months later, her doctor's office sent her a bill for treatment. She said she was informed by a nurse and, later, the hospital's billing department that her health insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, not only had declined payment for the rape exam, but also would not pay for therapy or medication for trauma because she "had been raped before."

Fallon says she now has trouble getting coverage for gynecological exams. To avoid the hassle of fighting with her insurance company, she goes to Planned Parenthood instead and pays out of pocket.

A New Mexico woman told the Investigative Fund she was denied coverage at several health insurance companies because she had suffered from PTSD after being attacked and raped in 2003. She did not want to disclose her name because she feared that she would lose her group health insurance if she went on the record as a rape victim. "I remember just feeling infuriated," she said.

"I think it's important to point out that health plans are not denying coverage based on the fact that someone was raped," said Pisano of the insurance trade group. "But PTSD could be a factor in denied coverage."

"That might not be a discriminatory action, but it certainly would seem to have a discriminatory impact," said Sandra Park, staff attorney at the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Insurance discrimination against rape victims will only further discourage them from coming forward to law enforcement and seeking medical help."

Even when patients have coverage, there are fundamental disagreements between insurance companies and doctors about what mental health treatment is medically necessary. The Investigative Fund spoke with doctors, psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers around the country who work regularly with victims of sexual assault. They said that their patients have been experiencing an increase in delays and denials, particularly for talk therapy.

"There's a lot of anger about this in the medical community," said Dr. George Shapiro-Weiss, a psychiatrist in Middletown, Conn. "You don't realize what an Alice in Wonderland web this has become."

"A lot of my patients are being told that their treatment isn't medically necessary," said Keri Nola, an Orlando, Fla., psychologist, who said about 75 percent of her patients are victims of sexual violence.

Several therapists cited problems with managed care companies that specialize in mental health. Such firms generally work under contract with health insurers to hold down costs while still authorizing appropriate care.

Some therapists and patients said the managed care companies have cut off necessary treatment for sexual assault victims in the name of cost containment. "The companies are peppering them with questions about their symptoms, and about their histories, and asking, 'Well, are you sure you really need therapy?'" said Jeffrey Axelbank, a New Jersey psychologist. "For someone who has been traumatized, it can feel like another trauma, and it makes the therapy less effective."

Pisano, of the insurance association, said it was not fair to draw a larger pattern from such anecdotal evidence. "These situations are evaluated on a person-by-person basis," she said. "There is nothing routine about this."

Jim Wrich, a Madison, Wis., a consultant who helps employers evaluate the companies that manage their mental health care, said his work has made him wary of the industry. "This is absolutely routine - these denials," Wrich said. "The default position is to reject care."

Magellan Behavioral Health Services, Inc., one of the nation's largest managed-care companies with more than 58 million customers, said that it does not routinely turn down treatment requests from victims of sexual assault or other clients. "We're not denying care. We are exercising our responsibility to make sure that medical necessity is met," said Dr. Lawrence Nardozzi, Magellan's medical director. "I think the process works well."

Asked if cost is a factor in the company's decisions, Magellan spokeswoman Erin Somers said: "If all the safeguards are in place to determine whether treatment is medically necessary and appropriate" then "the cost takes care of itself."

A former care manager for Magellan said in an interview that she felt pressure to deny care for cost reasons. Lois Gorwitz, a psychologist with thirty years of experience who went to work for Magellan in California in 2000, said her superiors would tell her: "We are not denying this person treatment, we are denying them their benefit. If they want the treatment they can still pay out of pocket." But, Gorwitz said, "You know that means that the person is not going to get the treatment because they can't afford to pay out of pocket."

Gorwitz quit after two years. "It's a very uncomfortable feeling of not being able to offer help," she said.

Asked for a response, Magellan's Somers said, "I think you should keep in mind that there have been a lot of changes at Magellan in the last seven years. I think the people who work at Magellan now are not having that experience."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

OCTOBER is Sex Ed Month of Action

Re-post from one of our favorite blogs A big thanks Jos for the 411.

October is Sex Ed Month of Action and organizers from Advocates for Youth, Catholics for Choice, Choice USA, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, SIECUS, Sierra Club, and Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom are joining forces to Congress it's time to finally get rid of failed abstinence-only programs and fund comprehensive sexuality education.

You can find information and tools for organizing a Call-In Day here. You can also sign on to a petition in support of the REAL Act which would authorize funding for comprehensive sexuality education.

This is a crucial moment for comprehensive sex ed. For the first time in a while we should have the support in the White House and Congress to de-fund abstinence-only programs and support real, accurate education about sex and sexuality. However, politicians in DC are continuing the same old fight despite overwhelming evidence that ab-only doesn't work. Electing people who say they agree with us is only the first and easiest step in bringing about political change. The real hard work comes after elections, when advocates need to hold officials accountable, push them to support our issues, and create a climate where that's the most expedient political move for them to make. The time is now: let's finally make federal funding for comprehensive sexuality education a reality!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Search engine dodges the word rape

by Sabrina Sadler, Social Outreach Intern

What search engine do you use…Google, Yahoo, MSN? Search engines can now usually detect what you’re searching for before you type in the whole word or phrase. A drop bar will appear with a list of possible searches you may be looking for.

Working as an activist for sexual assault prevention and education I am constantly searching for new college programs, conferences, and fellow activists. In doing so, a thought crossed my mind, when using Google I typed the word rape into the search bar and a drop bar does not appear. My initial thought was how can a word that is used so frequently in our daily culture not appear in the drop box? I tried searching for ‘Men Can Stop Rape, I typed in ‘Men Can Stop’, but Google’s drop box suggested ‘Men Can Stop Violence’ so I decided to see what that search would bring up. The first search result for ‘Men Can Stop Violence’ was actually ‘Men Can Stop Rape’. I have a question Google, why are you censoring the word ‘rape’ in your search engine?

I did try other search engines such as Yahoo and MSN, and although neither of them have a drop bar of suggestions for ‘Men Can Stop Rape’ they both did have drop bar suggestions when I typed the word ‘rape’.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thirty Republicans Vote Against Justice for Gang Rape Victims

I tuned into The Daily Show last night as I often do before my evening slumber and I became enraged with the government, well really it was 30 specific government officials. I'm not going to rant about it here, I did my fare share of it last night but I'm still a little pissed off  and most definitely confused about why anyone would vote against protecting someone from rape.
Al Franken proposes getting rid of the old "it's OK if you get raped" clause in government contracts, but 30 Republicans object. Stewart of course finds humor in this and you can't help but appreciate his brilliance and laugh but when it comes down to it, there is nothing funny about this situation. It is sad, really sad. Some government officials actually say that gang rape is none of their business. Seriously? Words cannot adequately articulate the stupidity, stubbornness and selfishness I find in that statement.

Follow this link to watch the video and see for yourself.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Football Hoes and Average Joes

A flyer I came across from a recent event at a local bar...

We all may hold a different interpretation of what this flyer represents. But take a second look to really think about the image and the words used. How does this represent women? How does this represent men? For those of you who may not work in the sexual violence field does this flyer concern you in any way?

- Sabrina

Friday, October 09, 2009


Are sorority women/ fraternity men more promiscuous than non-Greek college students?

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Are purity balls sexually empowering or oppressive?

Serious Over-Reporting Situation at UC Davis

by Sabrina Sadler, Social Outreach Intern

This was the first article I’ve had the chance to read, regarding the over-reported sex crime statistics from UC Davis.

My immediate thoughts first raised question to the school. How was UC Davis unaware of the over-reported sex crimes for 3 consecutive years?

I also wondered which statistics are actually correct. I know college campuses do not want to have high crime statistics. Is this a way for UC Davis to lower campus sex crimes while not taking fault for it?

Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 60% of crimes being left unreported. (U.S. Department of Justice.2005 National Crime Victimization Study. 2005)

I do not know all the facts to this story, but from the articles I have read, the blame seems to focus on the director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program, Jennifer Beeman. Although this action may fall back on her, it is important that UC Davis is not an innocent bystander in the situation. The media and society should hold all parties responsible.

Read the article posted below or take a peak at the article links and let me know what you think.

Campus Safety Magazine: UC Davis Over-Reports Sexual Offenses by 140%

The Sacramento Bee: Feds investigate allegedly inflated UC Davis crime reports

UC Davis: We Thought Those Sex Crime Stats Seemed High...

School doesn't know why stats were over-reported, but UC Davis is in lead for $1mil Department of Justice grant

By: Matthew Keys FOX40 News

October 1, 2009

DAVIS - An internal review of sex crime reports shows the University of California at Davis accidentally reported higher than accurate statistics, a new press release from the school read Thursday.

In February, FOX40 News reported UC Davis had more reported cases of sexual assaults on campus than all other University of California schools combined, a statistic that the school spun as a positive sign that students felt comfortable reporting crimes on campus.

Now, the school says an internal review shows the campus mistakenly reported a higher than accurate instance of sex crimes.

UC Davis said the school first became aware of a problem when a staff member began compiling statistics for the Clery Act report for the previous school year. The staff member found a total of 17 sex crime reports, significantly lower than the 57 reports filed in 2007 and the 52 reports filed in 2006.

Upon further review by UC Davis campus police, the school found only 10 reports of sex crimes were reported in 2005, 4 reports in 2006 and 16 reports in 2007.

"The problem with the reporting of these statistics was an isolated incident related solely to one individual," assistant executive vice chancellor Robert Loessberg-Zahl said.

UC Davis admits the school error began by relying on a single sole individual, director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program Jennifer Beeman, to review and report statistics relating to the Clery Act. The school said they're not sure why Beeman over-reported the crime statistics; however, UC Davis is one of several schools in the lead for a $1 million federal grant from the Department of Justice aimed at "enhancing services for crime victims," the school said.

Beeman retired from UC Davis in June after being employed as the director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program for sixteen years. FOX40's Kenny Lopez attempted to interview Beeman at her Sacramento home this afternoon; Beeman greeted Lopez at the door by saying "No comment." She later called our newsroom, asking to speak to a different reporter. When Lopez called her back, she once again said she had no comment.

The school now says a panel comprised of officials from the UC Davis Police Department, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, the City of Davis Police Department and the City of Sacramento Police Department will review statistics for both on and off-campus crimes relating to information found in future reports under the Clery Act.

Copyright © 2009, KTXL-TV

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Call for Programs

We are thrilled to introduce our new Programs for Change initiative developed by our fabulous social outreach intern, Sabrina Sadler.

We invite you to join the Unite for Change Campaign. With so many students and campus professionals creating and joining programs and organizations throughout the world that are doing all kinds of good in their communities to help prevent sexual assault and promote healthy sexuality we want to do our part to help spread the word and inspire others to take action in their respective hoods.

The first Monday of each month starting November 2nd Unite for Change is going to highlight a Program for Change. If you are currently a member of a campus or community project that’s making a difference or would like to nominate a program that has impacted you please e-mail Sabrina at

Approved programs will be shared through the Unite for Change Facebook group page, posted on the blog and also featured on

These are the deets we need to get started-

1. Name of your school and/ or organization

2. Title for the program/resource

3. Target audience

4. Goals/ objectives

5. Program description

6. Contact information and website if applicable

Thank you in advance for your submissions. We look forward to showcasing your community initiative as a Program for Change.

Hopeful, Determined & Focused,

The Unite for Change Team


Is long-term monogamy a natural behavior or cultural ideal?

P.S. Penguins are the most monogamous of all the species. Just one of the many things we learned at the Sex Lives of Animals Exhibit during our field trip to the Museum of Sex in NYC last week.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Check out what fellow activist Angela Rose, Founder/ Execuitive Director of PAVE and her team are doing this weekend. Join if you can! To learn more about how to be a part of the Rape is Rape Rallies visit PAVE.


Nationwide Rallies October 10, 2009

On October 10, rallies will be held in front of movie theatres across the country and abroad in response to the startling media and Hollywood support of Roman Polanski, the film director convicted of sexual assault and fleeing the country. These powerful demonstrations happening on October 10 are part of a global campaign, Rape IS Rape: Join Team Ten.

This effort is being orchestrated by the nonprofit PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, who was responsible for the 2007 nationwide “Call it RAPE Protest” that was held in over 40 cities and covered on CNN, TIME, and NBC’s Today Show.

PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment is a national, grassroots nonprofit. PAVE uses education and action to shatter the silence of sexual violence with targeted social, educational and legislative tactics. PAVE initiatives have been implemented in over 55 cities and in 3 countries.

Daily Sexversation

Can a man fake an orgasm?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fall Conference to Consider

Unite for Change is proud to be a co-sponsor for the 2009 National Conference on Sexual Assault in Our Schools hosted by the Safe Society Zone . This years conference is being held November 13- 15 in Orlando, FL . The annual conference brings together campus and community professionals, students, peer educators, safety and security, health professionals and military personnel to address the issues surrounding sexual violence on campus. There's lots of opporunity for learning and networking and a great program line-up including presenters such as yours truly, Ben Atherton-Zeman, Andrea Cooper, Saundra, Schuster, Brett Sokolow, Joesph Vess and many more.

Early registration is open until October 31st. Check out the web-site and see if it's something you can swing this year or maybe put on your calendar for next year.

We hope to see you in warm, sunny Florida in November!

Daily Sexversation

Should condoms be made available in public high schools?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Texas may be changing their ways

I'm glad to see that some folks are finally willing to recognize that abstinence only education simply does not work. It looks like some schools in the lone star state are turning their back on abstinence only education. I suppose some is better than none but Texas and many if not all of the other states in the great U.S. of A. have a long way to go. This recent article posted on the Women's Health Policy Report gives me a tiny glimmer of progress toward accurate sex education.

Some Texas Schools Abandon Abstinence-Only as Teen Pregnancy Climbs, Funding Shifts

September 29, 2009

Some Texas school districts are abandoning abstinence-only curricula in favor of abstinence-based programs that also teach about contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Many of the school districts, including Austin's, made the change after it became clear that teen pregnancy rates were climbing under the abstinence-only approach, according to the American-Statesman. The change also comes as the Obama administration seeks to shift federal abstinence-only dollars to programs proven to reduce teen pregnancy rates.

More government money has been spent teaching abstinence in Texas than any other state, and it has the third-highest teen birth rate in the country, the American-Statesman reports. A Texas State University study released earlier this year found that less than 5% of Texas districts have comprehensive sex education. The school districts in Austin, Lufkin and some other areas have adopted "abstinence-plus" curricula, which teach that abstinence is the safest choice but also stress the importance of using contraception if teens become sexually active. "

Our data says that what we're doing isn't working, and our community is ready for us to do something different," Roy Knight, superintendent of the Lufkin Independent School District, said. Whitney Self, lead teacher for health and physical education in the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, which switched to abstinence-plus, said, "We mainly did it because of our pregnancy rate. We don't think abstinence-only is working."

One federal abstinence program -- known as Title V -- expired in June. Congress, with support from the Obama administration, is also considering replacing a second federal program, the Community-Based Abstinence Only Program, with one that funds initiatives "proven to delay sexual activity, increase contraceptive use (without increasing sexual activity), reduce the transmission of [STIs] or reduce teen pregnancy."

The American-Statesman reports that Texas could face challenges as it seeks to implement the types of federally funded programs envisioned by Congress. Sex education is not required in the state, but when it is offered, it must meet strict abstinence mandates under the Texas Education Code, which is "widely interpreted as barring detailed instruction about birth control and condoms," according to the American-Statesman.

Austin Tries New Approach
The revised sexual education program in the Austin school district was created by Janet Realini, a San Antonio physician and public health expert who testified before the state Board of Education in 2004 about faulty medical information in school health textbooks. Realini's program teaches students about STIs and the success rates of various forms of contraception. "The key message is, if you're sexually active, you need to use a condom because it will reduce the risk of [STIs] and reduce the chance of pregnancy," Realini said. Her program, available online and free of charge, has been adopted by school districts in Hays County, San Antonio, Lufkin and the Rio Grande Valley. The Houston school district, Texas' largest, is considering the program for next year. Houston has more children born to teens under age 15 than any city in the country (Bell, Austin American-Statesman, 9/27).