Expert re-examines relationship models, healthier alternatives

By Hayley Vanstrum

Massachusetts-based sex educator and relationship therapist Yana Tallon-Hicks spoke to New College students to kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month events.
Massachusetts-based sex educator and relationship therapist Yana Tallon-Hicks spoke to New College students to kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month events.

Massachusetts-based sex educator and relationship therapist Yana Tallon-Hicks kicked off Sexual Assault Awareness Month at New College with her talk, Communication Skills for Healthy Sex and Relationships. The talk focused on harmful portrayals of sex in the media and abstinence-only sex education, and how to form healthier views of sex and relationships in one’s own life.
Tallon-Hicks encouraged input from the audience throughout the presentation, and she gave students space to speak with her and each other about consent, attachment styles, conflict, empathy, and clear communication. Students worked through exercises in small groups, acting out how they would respond when difficult situations arose in relationships. Tallon-Hicks encouraged participants to practicing active listening and respecting the boundaries others set for themselves. She provided valuable, real-life advice that people can use to navigate all interpersonal relationships, whether platonic or romantic.
New College’s SAAM committee chose to host Tallon-Hicks because of her trauma-informed, pleasure-positive perspective when it comes to speaking about healthy relationships. Even though this workshop was not specifically about sexual assault, SAAM coordinator Robyn Manning-Samuels stressed that the principles Tallon-Hicks promotes can help people heal after an assault.
“Victim/survivors are also people who will go on to maybe have relationships and or have sex or live with someone,” said Manning-Samuels, “and we talk less about how to integrate those things into a life post a traumatic event.I think it’s important to have a trauma-informed presenter educate on some of those skills and ideas.”
SAAM is a monthlong, student-led, campuswide initiative that happens every April. It raises awareness concerning sexual assault and prevention and builds support systems for survivors.
“At NCF, where students have a lot of programming freedom, I think it’s essential that they lead the conversation in what would make them feel seen, heard, and validated,” Manning-Samuels emphasized.
For a full list of Sexual Assault Awareness Month events, visit the New College News event calendar https://www.ncf.edu/news/events/.
— Hayley Vanstrum is an intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing.


Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is the state's only legislatively designated Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in liberal arts and sciences, a master’s degree program in data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

Inquiries about this article can be made to 941-487-4157 or to email us.

Do you know of an event or story we should share? Tell us about it.

Related News

Campus News

SAAM writing workshops encourage group healing and recovery

April 14, 2019

The writing workshops offer a casual and supportive environment where students can stop in, write, talk to others or make…

Campus News

Start by Believing Day emphasizes importance of visual support

April 8, 2019

Students are showing support for victims of sexual assault throughout the month of April.

Campus News

Celebration of Colors raises awareness of student disabilities

April 1, 2019

On March 28, SDS presented Part II of the Celebration of Colors event, aimed at raising awareness and recognition of…