January has come to an end. This first month of 2017 produced significant discussions, varying developments, and thoughtful criticisms written and published about issues of consent and sexual assault prevention. Here is a list of some powerful articles we like from January 2017. – An Amaze.org video for parents about […]Read More
December is almost over. Every day, there are developments, discoveries, and thoughtful criticisms written and published about issues of consent and sexual assault prevention. Here is a list of some powerful articles from December 2016. December Media: – Study finds that peer-led sex education is effective among teens. Link here. – […]Read More
Sex can be confusing. Asking questions about it can be scary. How does consent work? Boundaries? Healthy relationships? This stuff gets convoluted. But, don’t fret. That’s why we’re here. Send us your anonymous questions, which we will answer via social media. At the end of the month, we will compile […]Read More
Big news: We’re teaming up with the fundraising website Teespring to create awesome Speak About swag and raise funds for 2016 and beyond. Have you ever wanted to give money to Speak About It, but needed to buy a t-shirt instead? Have you ever needed a t-shirt, but couldn’t find any […]Read More
This fall, videographer Ali Ragan joined us on the road to document the season as we presented about consent, boundaries, and healthy relationships to over 32,000 students at high schools and colleges across the country. It’s been a year of incredible growth here at Speak About It, and today we’re thrilled […]Read More
Have you seen Speak About It? We want to hear your thoughts! Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. These surveys are used to evaluate the effectiveness of our programs and improve them for future audiences. Have further comments or questions? Use our contact form to get in […]Read More
Our Executive Director Shana Natelson was recently interviewed by journalist Jackie Ward for her web series, “You Only Get One.” In the video, Shana discusses her work with Speak About It, Inc. and the importance of consent education for high school and college students. Check it out at the link […]Read More
Speak About It is going global! Our Executive Director Shana Natelson and fellow sex educator Emma Verrill are currently en route to Singapore for a week of programming at Yale-NUS College. Check out all the latest updates from their adventure abroad by checking out their travel blog and following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Last week, three returning actors and twelve rookies descended on Portland, Maine for two weeks of Speak About It rehearsals. Since then, they’ve been hard at work perfecting the show, getting to know their casts, and participating in sexual assault response training courtesy of Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine.
To learn more about this year’s cast, check out our About the Team page, or keep scrolling to see photos from rehearsal!
Did you know that you can support Speak About It every time you shop online at Amazon? When you select Speak About It as your charity of choice on Amazon Smile, we receive .5% of every purchase as a donation to the organization at no additional cost to you.
Want to learn more about the Amazon Smile program? Check it out here.
And of course, if you’re interested in making a direct donation to Speak About It, you can visit our Donate page.
Thank you for supporting Speak About It!
Who knew signing employment paperwork could be so fun? Today our former intern Kaylee started working in her new full-time role as Speak About It’s first Program Coordinator. Obviously, a celebratory selfie was in order.
Kaylee does a little bit of everything around our office, including marketing, social media, program development, writing, editing, survey design, and training our actors in facilitation techniques. You can reach her at her fancy new work email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last night was our annual free community performance in Portland, Maine, generously hosted by the Portland Public Library. We were thrilled to see so many faces, both familiar and new, sprinkled throughout the crowd at both the show and the after party at Sonny’s Restaurant. We want to sincerely thank everyone who helped to spread the word, came to see the show, brought friends, celebrated with us, and gave generously of their time and funds to support our organization. Our work would not be possible without each and every one of you!
We would also like to give a special shoutout to the wonderful folks at our community sponsor Sonny’s Restaurant, who allowed us to use their space and took amazing care of all of our guests. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, stop in and show them some love!
Today we want to take a moment and give a quick shoutout to all the incredible people who make our work possible. We are so thankful for the allies, friends, and supporters who give their time, donations, and positive energy every day to help make Speak About It’s mission a reality. Thank you all for being a part of the Speak About It family, and have a happy Friday!
We couldn’t do our work without all the student leaders that help us speak about it on their campuses. Huge thanks to the juniors and seniors at the Sidwell Friends School for their engagement, participation, and enthusiasm today. We had a blast performing and talking without all! Now it’s up to you to keep the conversation about consent, boundaries, and healthy relationships going, and we know you can do it.
Today kicks off Sexual Assault Awareness Month! Stay tuned throughout April for a series of exciting news, updates, and ways to engage with both Speak About It and the wider national conversation about creating safer campuses for all students.
During a visit to her hometown of Taos, New Mexico last week, Shana had a chance to stop in and give a presentation to the local PFLAG (Parents and Friends for Lesbian and Gays) chapter, including friends, parents, and other community-members. Below is the article written about her in the local newspaper, the Taos News. You can catch (most of) the audio from the presentation here.
Are you interested in bringing Shana or someone else from Speak About It to talk to your group? Contact us here for more information!
Taoseña Shana Natelson knows when it comes to preventing sexual assault, just talking about sex is the first step.
Natelson is the executive director of Speak About It, a theatrical show about consent, boundaries and healthy relationships. And though the whole troupe wasn’t with her, those are the messages she shared with the local chapter of PFLAG — Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays, on Tuesday (Feb. 10).
Shana Natelson grew up in Taos, played ice hockey and graduated from Taos High in 2006 and then from Bowdoin College, in Maine, in 2010. When someone asked her what she wanted to do for the rest of her life, Natelson responded, “I want to talk about sex.”
“Sex is one of the few universal things,” she told The Taos News on Monday (Feb. 9). “We’re all here because someone had sex. But we don’t talk about it. Most people first learn about sex from their guidance counselor and porn, and neither of those are realistic.”
Speak About It is both a funny and serious show featuring super heroes and personal stories of exploration, assault and survival. But it is primarily a tool to teach people how to actively prevent sexual assault. To date, over 50,000 students in the United States have seen them perform on college and high school campuses from South Carolina to Maine, Indiana to California.
Natelson got the rights for the show after its first run at Bowdoin through a string of coincidences, helpful people and asking the right questions, she said. With a script in hand, she launched Speak About It as a company in 2011. It’s now a registered nonprofit.
Last year, the show had a total of 17 actors, with three different groups of actors performing nonstop during the fall orientation season. Natelson said it’s vital the cast is diverse — both visually with actors who are LGBTQ and people of color, as well diverse in personal experiences. The hope, she said, is to have students relate to some part of the show even if it’s just seeing someone who looks like them.
When they visit a campus, they train peer educators and residential assistants, and also customize the script for whatever resources, clubs and groups exist on the campus and in that community. Speak About It wants people to know how to prevent sexual assault in their own community and circle of friends.
But the basics get covered, too, like the fact that sexual assault happens anytime someone’s choice is taken away — from legally punishable sexual crimes to an unwanted kiss.
“When we first started developing [Speak About It] in 2009, we were just starting to talk about sexual assault prevention. And that meant just acknowledging there was sexual assault on campuses that needed to be prevented.”
But with just about every young person plugged into their smartphones, Natelson said, “the lid’s been blown off that. Young people are thirsty for information about what to do.”
The show makes a point to show how sexual assault can happen anywhere, not just in heterosexual relationships.
“Maybe it’s the Taos in me, but I think most people are good people and they just lack the confidence and the language to ask for consent.”
Natelson cited how most cases of sexual assault against young people are perpetrated by someone they know and trust, even people they’re in a relationship with. “We’ve all heard that 1 in 5 women in college will be sexually assaulted. Now, if we heard that 1 in 5 laptops were stolen at colleges, people would be outraged,” she said.
“Consent doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. It’s a lot less awkward to tell someone you’re having a good time and ask for that kiss than to not ask for it and having both of your feelings hurt,” she said.
“This is not far from home,” she said. “Everyone has a story about sex and too many people have a story about sexual assault. If after our show just one person has the courage to ask for consent where they wouldn’t have otherwise, if just one person uses language to feel sexy, then we’ve done our job.”
In Feb. 2014, Natelson visited family in Taos and took an afternoon to speak with about 200 students at Taos High School. They covered the basics of anatomy — “how to drive that car” — but also strategies for how to develop healthy relationships if you’re a young person in Taos.
“I grew up here and I made plenty of trouble in high school. There’s a lot of room in Taos and not a lot going on,” she said.
It’s better to acknowledge the realities of sex with young people, she said, instead of pretending it doesn’t happen. And when it comes to experimentation, Speak About It helps people understand that just because someone “checked off a box or gave consent one time, you don’t need to do something because it’s expected.”
Speak About It wants people “to find partners who respect who you are, your boundaries and what it is you desire,” she said.
And while plenty of people don’t like the show because they find it too in-your-face or its topics against personal convictions or religion, the information in the show is worth keeping in mind even if the first time you have sex is on your wedding night, she said.
“If we talk about sex,” she said, “then it isn’t taboo.”
Speak About It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that partners with high schools and colleges to educate, entertain, and empower students to create positive change within their communities, advocate for and practice healthy relationship habits, and prevent sexual violence.
Copyright 2016 Speak About It, Inc. Website by Alexandra Valleau