Pro-life college student had enough with ‘sex week.’ So she organized her own.
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, May 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Disgusted by the growing trend on university campuses of holding an annual “Sex Week” one student at the University of New Mexico decided to respond proactively this year.
UNM Students For Life president Sade Patterson was outraged after two years of watching UNM’s “SexUality Week” glorify self-destructive promiscuity and other perversions.
"The pattern of objectification and a lack of responsibility became evident," Patterson wrote in The College Fix. "It was clear organizers had an agenda: teach my peers that anything goes, and there are no consequences."
She wasn’t the only one outraged. There were many, decent students upset by it. The difference with Patterson is, she took matters into her own hands. This March, she ran "The REAL Sex Week," with positivity and honesty about sex from a moral perspective.
Sexual biology was discussed. How sex affects our minds and relationships. The chemical links that sex literally creates in the brain of the participant. Abstinence. The various means of Natural Family Planning, the facts of artificial contraception failure rates, and how hormonal contraception negatively affects a woman's body. CareNet gave free pregnancy and STD tests, and counseled confused, driven-by-the-world weary women, too young for their own tragic experiences.
Additionally, sessions were held for pregnant women and parenting students, offering hope and help and information on where to find support. Nearly 4.8 million undergraduate students are parents. Sade herself gave birth as a junior to her son Daniel. Other women who gave birth while going to college shared their stories.
Other topics included healing from rape and sexual assault, and sessions where post-abortive women shared their stories of regret, and of forgiveness and healing, and a women's self-defense class. More than twenty organizations set up tables offering information on health clinics, pregnancy centers, parenting programs, childcare assistance, counselors, sexual assault awareness, and more.
Sade's “The Real Sex Week” was denounced by feminists, who tore down promotional posters, bullied students into not attending, set up competing pro-abortion sessions, called the event "homophobic" and demanded that the university president shut down the event. They set up a table dressed as genitalia, and handed out condoms.
"But the most rewarding outcome of our week was witnessing students happily receive our information and leave with a positive outlook on sex, pregnancy, and their worth as women," Sade wrote in The College Fix. "It was a time of healing, hope, empowerment and love."
Patterson told LifeSiteNews, "My motivation was rooted in my dissatisfaction with the previous two 'Sex Weeks' on my campus. Both events were objectifying, lacked sexual education and support, and promoted abortions and orgies... I felt responsible to offer alternatives to students."
"I was selected to be a Wilberforce Fellow (Students For Life America leader fellowship) in the Summer 2015," Sade explained. "We have to come up with our own project to change the culture on our campus from promoting death to valuing life. I chose to host The Real Sex Week because students deserve life-affirming options when they find themselves in difficult situations."
She said that she simply chose topics that were close to her experience. "Many of the topics reflect my own personal experiences or of those I work with. You'll see I held a pregnant and parenting support night because I am a parenting student myself and I wanted other men and women to know the support and options they have," she explained. "Sexual assault healing was important to me because I have been assaulted in the past and haven't received healing from my experience. I know many women hide in the dark and shame after an assault and need to be empowered to find healing and be seen as a victor, rather than a victim."
On a practical level, Sade had free access to the ballrooms in the Student Union Building, which provided the chairs, tables, sound equipment, and space. She purchased food through UNM Catering, which was paid for by a university appropriation. Sade and her team created ads in the school newspaper (paid for by university appropriations), on TV screens in the Student Union Building (free), and twenty Students for Life members distributed posters and flyers.
To line up speakers, Sade reached out to friends, co-workers, professionals she's been in contact with, and fellow volunteers at her local crisis pregnancy center. Organizations helped "because we partner with them already or because I have used their services myself and know how important they are," Sade explained.
Sade has advice for others who might want to start a positive alternative to the prevailing culture of promiscuity. "High schools and college campuses should contact Students for Life of America to see how they can start a pro-life club," she advised. "I would suggest hosting a week or a month or even one night, offering sexual education to students."
She encourages all prolife organizations to get to know, volunteer, and partner with local life-affirming organizations. "The reason we had so many organizations and speakers is because we have focused on partnering with organizations on and off campus for the last year," Sade said. "Learn how to make relationships with other groups and organizations and see if they'd like to be apart of your mission!"
Sade has taken on another project, a "starter kit" for The Real Sex Week, to help other prolife organizations across the nation.
Patterson admits that creating, organizing, and sponsoring The Real Sex Week was a daunting task. "Hosting Sex Week was a giant of a project. I hardly slept or ate, I fell behind in school for a week," she confided, "but once it was over, I was able to look back on what we left behind and smile with victory."
"Yes, it was hard; yes, we had opposition and backlash. But we made an impact on our campus and were able to offer sexual education and support to students from different walks of life who seem to fall between the cracks."
"Our campus truly promotes and supports a culture of death," Patterson lamented. "I had an obligation to change that, and I took action in the best way I knew how."