In the Sex, Rights and Pleasure Lab, hosted by the Institute of Development Studies and the University of Sussex, teams of students came together to create new interventions to digitally-mediated gender-based and sexual violence. Many of the students had never met before and, over the course of four cold days in January, they discussed using a sexual health rights approach that highlighted the importance of the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence for all persons.
With the help of designers, researchers, journalists and marketing experts the students developed four great ideas for interventions. They were encouraged to work on their ideas in teams and to be clear about the what, the why, the who and the how. They were not expected to make full feature films or beautifully crafted adverts.
The resulting team pitches have been published online and we invite you to watch them all on YouTube. On 10th February 2017 the number of YouTube views and likes were counted and the one with the highest number will win the #sexrightspleasure award.
Respect the Nude
Sussing Out Sex
Why addressing this issue is an important global development challenge
Gender based and sexual violence affects young people all over the world and students in the UK are no exception. How we understand gender and violence in the digital era is a critical and high priority issue for researchers, activists, health practitioners, parents and university students for a variety of personal and professional reasons.
At the same time, online spaces are increasingly dominated by the new ‘gatekeepers’ like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Youtube controlling online censorship on a wide scale, frequently relating nudity with pornography) and in a porn saturated environment widely censoring online sexual health information. Online platforms are also sites of gender based abuse and sexual harassment where women, LGBT and people of colour are more regularly and consistently harassed on-line.
From a sexual health rights as well as a behavioural science perspective it is essential to also keep recognizing the positive and pleasurable effects of sexuality. This is also in line with the relevant global definitions, such as those from the World Association for Sexual Health and the World Health Organisation’s definition of sexual health. Having pleasurable consensual sex and being heard and taken serious in relationships –personal or educational- are important to students. For the development of effective responses to sexual and gender based violence for young it is important to work with them and their experiences, interests and skills as well as with other experts who can help them turn these into concrete responses.