Food for Thought

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Each week there is at the very least one story that highlights a person that has been sexually violated in some way. Whether it is in another country, or in our own backyard. This week we had the story of two ex football players from Vanderbilt, who were actually tried and convicted. Let’s hope they get a deserving sentence! For more on that check out the story here.

This story and similar ones that I stumble upon each week were echoed on Tumblr (also known as a black hole for me.)

SchoolSexual Assault

It seems like Vanderbilt was fairly proactive, which is great, but that is more of a gem in a sea of crap. The way schools handle sexual assaults has been a big point of contention for me, but seeing this photo just drove it home. If someone cheats on exam or paper, there is usually little leniency for the perpetrator, but if someone is sexually assaulted, the administrations conjure up excuses, move heaven and earth, hell too? in order to justify the actions that took place. Just let this sink in for a bit.

This little gem popped up on my feed too:

Source

There is so much truth here.

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Round Table 1/20

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Today we will have our first round table of the semester, and we are really excited to have people out and discuss what you all would be interested in doing this year with the Women’s Center. So please come out with your ideas, and join us at 2 p.m. in room 331!

round table

Welcome Back!

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Welcome back everyone! The Spring Semester has just begun, and the Women’s Center is excited to get things rolling again.

741-1177

Hopefully everyone had a good break, and is ready to go!

Next Tuesday, January 20th at 2 p.m. in Room 331, will be our first meeting of the new semester, and we are really looking forward to everyone coming out and discussing what you would like to see happen throughout the semester. So, please bring your ideas, let us know what things you would like us to discuss, and what kind of impact we could all make on our campus.

Photo Credit: Welcome signs, Laem Tong beach, Phi Phi Don Island, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Asia. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 13 Jan 2015.
http://quest.eb.com/#/search/151_2506578/1/151_2506578/cite

Street Harassment

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Lately there has been a lot of information flying around about street harassment, as well as a lot of videos that are demonstrating what people deal with on a daily basis.  There have been a lot of comments thrown around about how “men cannot even say hello to woman now”, which is completely missing the point.  The reality is that there are people trying to go about their day, and have comments thrown at  them that are either inappropriate flat out, or the way in which they said invite trouble.


This <a title=”Guy Walking Around NYC” href=”http://www.upworthy.com/guy-walking-around-nyc-for-10-hours-is-the-street-harassment-response-for-anyone-who-doesnt-get-it&#8221; target=”_blank”>video</a> with the roles reversed.

The other week while waiting for the train, some guy came up to me and said, “Hello, how are you?  I would like some Starbucks.” Looking at that words themselves, the words do not seem particularly offensive or threatening, but he managed to say all of those things in a way that made my skin crawl.  Who knew that someone could make Starbucks sound creepy? I really wanted to hop in the shower after that interaction.

What a lot of people have been saying, and what my own experiences have showed, yes the words themselves can seem fine enough, but either the way they are said, or the way the person is acting makes them seem threatening or pushy. However, there are times that the comments made are just are awful and verbally abusive. People should be able to go about their day, without having to worry about who and what is going to come up to them. And contrary to the comments the “man of honor makes” no we do not have to deal with it, and most people just want to be able to go about their day without having to have to rebuff, avoid, dissuade, flee from, defend oneself from some person (whether they are attractive or not, it comes out as creepy and invasive).

And to show that the world does still have some awesomeness it it, here is the remix to the CNN debate, which might be even better than the debate itself:

An Amazingly Busy Week

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The Women’s Center has had a busy week, attending some great events for wonderful causes.   First we attended the Clothesline Project, which we hope will be a continuing tradition on our campus.  There were quite a few students, staff, faculty, and whole departments that participated.

Clothesline Project

The library even did a display that provides further information on the topic.

Clothesline Project Display

SAS may be doing it again in the Spring, so if you were unable to attend this semester, keep checking back so you can participate next semester.

After the Clothesline Project, the Women’s Center held its annual Breast Cancer walk around campus. There were goodies in the Women Center ( cupcakes and other treats) that were awaiting us after our walk.

Breast Cancer Walk 10-21

We want to give a big thanks to everyone who showed support and came out participated!

Carrying The Weight Together

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Many of you heard about Emma Sulkowicz, and her art project / protest in regards to how her sexual assault charges were handled at Columbia University.  She walked around campus carrying an XL mattress because her attacker was never removed from the campus, and soon others joined her to help carry the mattress (the burden of being sexual assaulted). If you have not  heard about it, check it out here. It is really amazing what we as people can do when we stand together, and support one another. 

This is why Carrying the Weight Together is so amazing! On Oct. 29th,  those who are apart of college community are encouraged to grab a mattress and stand together in an effort to show support for those who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence.

Round Table Tuesday – 10/7

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We had another great round table this  Tuesday, where we had Sexual Assault Services  (SAS) come and talk with us about the Red Flag Campaign, and the services that are provided throughout the college.

People had some great questions about consent, and raised some great points about how culturally there is a great impact on how we interact with one another sexually. There was a lot of focus on how “no” is not usually the stopping point, but the beginning of a negotiation, and how problematic that becomes, especially when people get worn down, and feel as though there is no other option.

All of these questions and topics were answered and further clarified by the wonderful people who came to visit from SAS. They did a great job of hosting our round table, and I know I walked away with more knowledge under my belt.

SAS  Information Table

SAS Information Table

One of the biggest things I took away from this round table, is how fortunate we all are to have the support network  created by SAS.  Most institutions do not go to the lengths that these folks do in order to ensure that people get the help they need.

So here are some of  things  these amazing people do:

  • Provide support whether you are in a situation yourself, or trying to be there for family or friends who are in abusive relationships, sexual assaults, stalking
  • Anonymous reporting
  • All services are confidential
  • Always on call ( cell #, so you can text as well)
  • College -Wide
  • They can meet off-campus
  • They will go to appointments, court, exams, etc.

They provide support when people need it the most, and are helping to ensure that survivors are aware of all of their options.  We are quite fortunate to have this level of involvement, and people who invest so much time to make sure that survivors get help, and know that they are not alone.

SAS is under the NOVA Cares services here at  NOVA.  Here is there email: nova.sas@nvcc.edu and phone: 703-338-0834

Keep your calendars open for October 21 to join SAS for the  Clothesline Project

#RedFlagCampaign

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Visit theRedFlagCampaign.org

For the entire month of October we will be celebrating the Red Flag Campaign, which brings attention to dating violence and works to prevent it from happening on college campuses.

Please join us tomorrow, 10/7 from 2-3 when Negar Ehsani, MSW,  our NOVA Sexual Assault and Trauma Specialist, comes by to chat with us.

Hope to see you all there!

Yes Means Yes

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The internet is buzzing about California passing the Affirmative Consent Law.   There are high emotions on either side, some feeling as though this is long overdue, while others feel as though the government is overstepping.

In California, the Senator Kevin de Leon introduced the Affirmative Consent Law that was recently passed by Governor Jerry Brown. This law is applicable to any higher education institution that receives state funding.  The law tries to better outline what  kind of protocols that should be in place,  as well as what programs and support need to be in place for survivors of sexual violence.

I am curious to see the effectiveness of this bill, and what, if anything happens to institutions who do not comply with this law.  There is a need for more resources available for survivors, and it is important to have a support network,  hopefully this law provides the push needed to get campuses into action and providing these much needed spaces.

It will be interesting to see how other states react to this, especially states with institutions that have higher rates of sexual violence.

There is a lot of back and forth going on about what the law is and isn’t, here is a link Affirmative Consent , where you  can take a look at the points, and what the campuses will have to do in order to comply.

One thing I have noticed in looking through comments, is that people are complaining that this places too much responsibility on the alleged attacker. In most cases the responsibility is on the victim of an attack, where there is the need to justify what they were doing, how much they were drinking, their sexual history, did they do anything to maybe give the faintest whiff of interest, etc.  I think it is alright if there is more responsibility placed on the person being accused, instead of someone trying justify why it was horrible for them to be attacked.