No Means No #MeToo

Reporter Mia Rodriguez shares her story as part of the #metoo movement

Opinion by Mia Rodriguez | reporter

When I was in kindergarten, a kid said “I will show you mine, if you show me yours.” He showed me his penis.

I was young and confused, as I did not understand. I ran away from him because I did not want to see it.

When I was in middle school, I was grabbing something from the bottom of my locker when a guy grabbed and slapped my rear end and ran. It scared me, so I went and told the teacher, who said “Maybe you were just in his way while he was passing by.”

I went back to my locker, then the same guy came back up to me and said, “Why did you snitch? You should be lucky anyone would touch you” before he left. My heart sank and I stood there in disbelief.

When I turned 18 and started making my own decisions. I decided to download a dating app called Tinder. On Tinder, I matched with a boy and arranged plans to meet up.

I met up with him in Emporia. He was very sexually aggressive.

“Are we gonna have sex or what?” he asked. I looked at him and said “I don’t know.”

He told me to leave and that I wasted his time.

After going to school in Emporia, I moved back to Wichita and started working. My co-worker, ten years older than me, complimented me every day and asked if I was losing weight.

I worked alone with him late at night and he liked to stare at me and ask me about my sexuality. He would ask me about “my type” of people to date and ask “How are you single?”

I would not answer.

He asked me on dates and I would say no.


“Why?” he asked.

I told him he is not my type, I am only 18 and he is a lot older than me.

Later, I quit that job because of him and other reasons.

When I was 19, I met a guy and had been seeing him for a while. He told me to do things I did not want to do. I would say no, but he would put his hand on my thigh and ask “Why not?”

“I don’t want to,” I said. He said, “Okay.”

Later in the night, his hand was in my pants. I told him to stop and he did stop for a second, but then he said, “I bought you something to eat so you owe me.”

“You bought me a $1 burger,” I said in my head. This happened twice.

I asked some people about the incident and most said, “You went to his house, what did you expect?” I never questioned it again.

He kept asking me to come over. One night and I told him no because I was busy.

“You are not busy, do not make excuses. You know you want to see me,” he said.

He continued texting and guilting me then I told him to leave me alone. I never saw him again.

At 20 years old, I went to a concert. A guy grabbed my rear end and smacked it, I turned around thinking it was my boyfriend, but he was in the bathroom. I told the stranger not do it again and he responded with “Do not dress like that.” I was wearing a T-shirt and jeans.

Now I watch my back but have learned to speak up, instead of keeping everything to myself and being scared. I am stronger and happier now, and I am not afraid of anyone anymore.


Abstinence is Not Education


“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul,” 1 Peter 2:11. Some Christians believe that sex is a beneficial gift from God in the context of marriage, and all other sexual relations are immoral. To illustrate that, Design director Noah Merrell used someone holding a cross and a condom in each hand to show that by choosing to have sex before marriage is betraying Christianity in the eyes of some Christian Americans.

Opinion by Noah Merrell | design director

Abstinence-centered sexual education is a disservice to all people and it is about time we fix this broken system.

So can someone tell me why schools still have a primary focus on abstinence when it comes to teaching young adults and teens about sex?


It is true the only 100 percent foolproof way to prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancy is by practicing abstinence, but the expectation for unmarried people to avoid doing something as natural as sex is preposterous.

This mess all began in 1981 when the Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) was passed without hearings or floor votes in the U.S. Congress. The act was established to promote “chastity” and “self-discipline.”

Funding for this act was cut in 2011, but still took the majority of funds.

Although funding has changed for the AFLA it has just been hidden in a new program, abstinence-only programs now have a new name: “sexual risk avoidance.”

Sex is not an evil thing, but by only teaching abstinence schools are not providing students with the proper tools to have safe sex.

Some people believe talking about sex should be left up to the parents; this is an entirely wrong way to look at it.

First, there are LGBTQ+ relationships, and if the parent or parents do not know much about same-gender sex, then they will be almost useless in helping their child understand how to be safe.

Next, if the kid is living in the system such as with foster parents, they may never have that parental figure in their life to explain safe sex to them.

Let’s be honest though, how many of us have been told the birds and the bees by our parents? If we were, was it at a reasonable age or had we already had sex by that time in our life?

You see, it is an uncomfortable conversation to have and some parents avoid it in general, because It is so much easier to just sit down and tell your kids to wait until marriage, when we all know that is not a realistic expectation.

There is also a religious dilemma, the most popular one being that some Christian Americans believe that sex before marriage is a sin. Even though people believe that, it does not mean they are practicing it.

According to the Kinsey Institute; California State University, the average male loses his virginity at age 16.9; females average slightly older, at 17.4.

So it is pretty obvious that people are not waiting very long before they become sexually active.

According to the AIDS Policy Research Center & Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, states that have taught comprehensive sex and/or HIV education and covered abstinence along with contraception and condom use tended to have the lowest teen pregnancy rates, while states with abstinence-only sex education laws that stress abstinence until marriage were significantly less successful in preventing teen pregnancies.

I mean the proof is in the conception. If you are not giving people every tool to help prevent accidents or the spread of disease, then you are doing nobody a favor and are only spreading ignorance.

If you do not teach young adults and teens how to have sex correctly, then you are adding to the problem.

The most aggressive and effective way to prevent these mishaps is to tackle the issue straight on with inclusive and thorough information about sex.

The worst disease to spread is the attitude that sex is a bad thing and something that should not be discussed. It is a very natural part of being human, so let’s stop preaching abstinence and start talking the real issues.

There is nothing wrong with having sex, but there is something wrong with how we are teaching people about sex.

The only way to solve this problem is to start the conversation.

Let’s talk about sex.

How to Fall in Love After Your Sexual Assault

Guest columnist Victoria Lemon shares her story of overcoming being sexually assaulted

Opinion by Victoria Lemon | guest columnist

I was 17 years old when I was raped by a man I thought I had a close relationship with. There are a lot of things from that night my mind blocked out in order to protect me- my good ol defense mechanisms kicked in. However, there is a lot I do remember.

I remember waking up the next morning next to him. Taking a shower, and looking in the mirror and realizing with all the bruises on my body I resemble more of a smurf than a human being. I went to work like I usually do, and it was there that I broke down and told my manager what had happened.

I did everything I thought I was “supposed” to do. I made a report with the police and eventually took him to court where I testified against him. He got six months parole for assault. You read that right- assault, not rape. I wish words could describe the betrayal I  felt, from the judge to myself.

When the trial was over and I was left with a life sentence and he was left with a slap on the hand, all I could think about was “So what now?”

Forgiveness? No, it was too soon for that. Do my best to forget everything that happened? Yeah, that’s the one I went for. So for almost three years, I kept myself busy. I tried to fill a void that he created and I allowed to stay there. I went to school, work. I  dated around but never allowed myself to get close to anyone, especially not intimately. I focused solely on loving others the way I wished I loved myself.

Fast forward to June of 2017. I got my first ever boyfriend, and let me tell you, it was quite the experience. However, no article or support group or “sexual intimacy after sexual assault” self-help book could have prepared me for trying to love someone, and myself, all while fighting demons from years ago.

My boyfriend would touch me and I would have flashbacks, leaving me sitting on his lap crying, and apologizing. He tried to understand but you can’t until it’s you with hand shape bruised around your neck, and a sore throat from saying “no” so many times. I’d lash out at boyfriend just because all I could feel was anger. I was pissed off at the man who raped me, I was pissed off at myself for not being healed, I was even pissed off at God.

December came quickly. It was cold and I was tired. I realized I was looking for love in the wrong places, and I would continue to do so until I learned to love myself the way I loved myself three years ago before it was taken away from me. I ended a relationship and started a new one-this time, with myself.

And that’s what it took. It took me forgiving my assaultant for what he had done. Not just forgiving him, but hoping he could conquer whatever demons he had so he could heal himself, too. Then the next step was to forgive myself for all the time I spent hating myself, and for hating him. I eventually found a relationship with God again. I no longer cursed His name or pitied myself. I accept what had happened to me. I realized I was still worth loving, regardless of what happened to me. There is no rule book on how to love yourself after a tragedy. There isn’t a rulebook for anything. Acceptance, forgiveness, time and self-love. That’s what it took for me.


She’s Wearing a Dress; What Do You Expect?

Editor-in-chief Tatum Sturdivant shares her experience dealing with objectification from a customer at work

Opinion by Tatum Sturdivant | editor-in-chief

Growing up my mom was always very persistent when it came to reminding me “dress classy and cover-up, but be yourself.”

At the time it annoyed me because I hated being told what to do. I “always knew what was best,” so I just rolled my eyes every time she said it.

As I went through my rebellious phase, I wore every see-through shirt I owned without a tank-top underneath, and made sure to wear the lowest cut shirts in my closet just to get a rise out of her.

Naturally, I did grow out of this phase, and my mom’s words began to stick with me as I noticed that I was catching the attention of older men out in public. By older men, I do not mean upperclassmen, or “cute college boys.” I mean men that were old enough to be my dad or grandpa.

I felt uncomfortable, and it crushed my self-esteem.

For the rest of my sophomore year of high school, I wore scarves with everything. Junior year, I wore the same six outfits, which consisted of a Friends University sweatshirt, leggings and a scarf.

I was not comfortable wearing anything else because of the looks I received, but also did not feel like myself in what I was wearing.

As a kid, I was rather a tomboy and always stole my brother’s basketball shorts and absolutely hated being classified as girly. Being called “girly” was the biggest insult to me. I thought it implied being weak, foolish, always dressing pretty and having perfect manners.

However, I fell in love with dresses and “dressing up” my senior year.

As time went on, my closet was 90 percent dresses, and I felt more like myself than I had ever before. I wore dresses of all different kinds: striped, floral, shirt dress, halter neck and more.

I kept it classy and carried myself with pride – just as my mom always reminded me.

I started working at a video rental store the summer after high school. One of my favorite things about working there is getting to wear whatever I want, as long as it looks professional.

My go-to outfit is, of course, a dress.

While dressing classy and professional, I never thought that I would get one of those looks again by another creepy old man. Until the day I did.

The store was busy. Summer was ending, and the crisp fall air had families staying inside for the weekend. I was getting a video game out of the bottom drawer, and I turned around to see my then-coworker say “Do not look at her that way,” to the man I was helping.

In response, the customer said, “She is wearing a dress, what do you expect?”

Those words now haunt me every time I put on a dress.

Every time some guy looks a little longer than they should, I think to myself that it is because I am in a dress.

That encounter made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

It makes me sick and angry knowing that there are people in the world that believe it is acceptable to view women as nothing but a sex object.

To look at women sexually as if they deserve it based on what they are wearing, rather than acknowledging their beauty and respecting them as a human.

My heart hurts to know that there are women that face objectification and inappropriate looks every day; women that believe that they are nothing but a sex object.

It breaks my heart to think about young girls growing up in a world where they are objectified and have to fight to be seen as something else.

Yes, this situation drove me up a wall for months after it happened. And it still does every now and again – a year and a half later. But one thing I did gain from this situation was coming to terms with the fact that there are always going to be people out there that view women differently.

This was rather difficult considering I am the type of person who likes to fix everything, but it has been something I have had to force myself to work on.

Now, I can fully admit that I am comfortable in my skin and embrace wearing clothes that makes me feel beautiful. Unfortunately, there are still times in which men give me looks and make inappropriate comments, but that is no reason to hide behind a mask.

That day I was in a dress and that was not what I was expecting.


He Said She Said

Editor-in-chief Tatum Sturdivant and design director Noah Merrell share their thoughts on the unrealistic relationship expectations that both genders have for one another

by Tatum Sturdivant | editor-in-chief

My grandparents are always telling me how different dating was back in their teenage years, compared to now. It makes me envious hearing about how easy it used to be. They openly communicated and there were not ridiculous double standards.

As a woman, I have encountered several instances where I have been stuck, unable to please a man because of everything he expects from me.

One of the most common things that guys expect out of a girl is to look natural and embrace their flaws, but still, have a “banging” body and no blemishes.

Now think about that. It is not realistic to be able to be flawless but also embrace our flaws. That is not how God created anyone to be. There are days I wake up bloated with bags on my eyes, but if I go out in public like that I am judged.

Women are expected to be independent and do things on their own, but also depend on their man. But not too much or else they are clingy and boy-dependant. A woman is to rely on her man for anything that involves strength and is not allowed to stand up for herself.

If a woman has guy friends, she better make sure it is okay with her boyfriend before she even texts them, let alone go out to lunch because he may think it is more than a friendship.

Women are expected to have sex, even on the first date, but once a girl sleeps with a couple of guys, then she is considered a slut. Meanwhile, guys are out sleeping with every girl they are interested in because if they do not, they are jeopardizing their “man card.”

Women basically have to beg for a man’s attention because men are “too cool to care,” but at the same time, men find every other man as a threat. If a woman does not beg for attention, then she is not interested, and too self-involved when actually, she just knows what she deserves from a man.

These are all ridiculous standards that women are never going to meet.

Fifty-nine years ago my grandparents first met on a blind date. My grandfather was 19, grandmother 15.

Back then men expected women to become mothers and Godly wives. Men treated women with respect; cherished them, and protected them. They did not expect women to have sex on the first, second, third or fourth date. Women did not have to beg for a man’s attention or change their friendships but somewhere throughout the years dating took a turn for the worse.

It is time that men stop expecting women to meet all of their double standards and start treating them like the beautiful beings that we are.



by Noah Merrell | design director

As a kid growing up I always thought about what my future relationships would be like. I remember watching soap operas with my mom and seeing how intense love was between characters on the show.

I have always wanted that perfect relationship, but social media has made millennial women insane. Well, about relationships that is. From desperate TBH (To Be Honest) posts to exposing their exes’ nudes on Twitter, the 21st-century relationship has used the internet to amplify everything wrong with modern love.

As a male, I am held to a higher standard of romance… one that is not realistic. Everything I do must be a grand gesture. From asking her out on a date to when you have a cold, the expectations of me and how I perform in situations are ridiculous.

Yes, I want to blow money on the person I love, but that being said, expectations of these gestures are getting too high.

These ideas of the perfect relationship have only been influenced by social media applying even more pressure to the male in the relationship to be “perfect.”

People want something they can post on Twitter. They do not want a regular date or anything just casual. Couples need something that they can show off to their friends.

I want a deep connection with my partner, but these grand gestures that are continuously expected of me wear out the love.

We all remember high school: wanting to ask someone to a dance, hands sweaty and voice shaky, you asked them. As I grew up, I started to realize nobody wants to only be asked to the dance; they want a poster covered in glitter with a pun written on the front and some food or a car ride downtown to an unknown destination, only to find a group of your closest friends holding up a sign saying, “Will you go to prom with me?”

Those posts will be uploaded to Twitter or whatever social media is popular at the moment, not because you are excited about prom, but because you are hopeful that you finally got your shot at trending.

These girls want that Instagramable moment that screams “Haha! My life is better than yours.” It is almost like a competition to see who can have the best relationship.

If it is not on social media it never happened… Right? It seems like before you can call yourself a “serious couple” you have to first make multiple updates about how in love you are on every single social media account.

I mean girls do not care where the relationship is heading. They expect every aspect of it to be extravagant and “postable”… even the breakup, so do not worry unhappy couples—you can exploit that as well. Did your boyfriend cheat on you? Well, that’s postable.

Girls just upload the fight over text, followed by a tag for both their assumed ex and their mistress and add a “#HeCheated.” Then they add his nudes into the mix. This will end up getting them thousands of likes and retweets. Disgusting, right?

It is sad that relationships have evolved into this mess of expectation versus reality that causes stress on the couple. Everyone wants that fairytale relationship, but setting the bar high will only leave you disappointed.

This is the real world, not a movie, so it is about time we start treating relationships like that.