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MIT Reads: Sexual Citizens: Home

From the Book

            "The focus on fear... reflects an underlying refusal to acknowledge young people's sexual citizenship. It's magical thinking to believe that young people can learn to put their bodies close to other bodies, safely and without anyone getting hurt, when for most kids the only message that they get from their parents is 'not under my roof.' Most parents whose children want to learn to drive spend a great deal of time teaching them -- talking about the rules of the road, how to drive defensively, how to protect pedestrians and cyclists... And with much younger children, parents and caregivers expend enormous energy helping them to move safely in the street. Don't cross against the red, and walk facing traffic... It takes a lot of work to teach kids to move their bodies safely through the world. We know this about everything, it seems, except sex."                   

The Authors

In Sexual Citizens, Columbia Professor of Sociomedical Sciences Jennifer S. Hirsch and Princeton Professor of Sociology and American Studies Shamus Khan lay out an expansive, empirically-grounded vision for campus sexual assault prevention. The book is rich with the testimonies of over 150 Columbia students who participated in the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation (SHIFT).  With empathy and compassion for the many struggles that young people face, Hirsch and Khan approach sexual assault as a public health problem and explain it by setting out a broader understanding of how sex is organized, what it means to young people in college, and how members of a campus community can address these issues.  

About SHIFT

SHIFT at Columbia examines the factors that shape sexual health and sexual violence for undergraduates. Visit their website for more information:

https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/research/sexual-health-initiative-foster-transformation

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