By Megan Schwindler
The UMKC Women’s Center is asking for donations of gently used denim to be used as the canvas for artwork for others to witness during UMKC Denim Day in April. We’re collecting denim from April 9-20. Drop off locations include the UMKC Women’s Center, Miller Nichols Library, Oak Street Residence Hall Lobby, and the Office of Student Involvement.
What is Denim Day USA?
It is a rape prevention education campaign where community members, elected officials, businesses, and students are asked to make a social statement with their wardrobe by wearing jeans as a visible protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.
Denim Day stems from the 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction because they believed that because the victim wore tight jeans she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. Enraged by the verdict, the women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans to work. This action motivated the California Senate and Assembly to do the same. It then spread nationally, and wearing jeans on Denim Day became an international symbol of protest against the destructive attitudes and myths surrounding sexual assault.
For more information on the case you can visit The New York Times’ coverage or visit the Peace Over Violence website.
For more information concerning the denim drive and event, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-235-1638.
By Ann Varner
Do you have any old denim that you’re ready to get rid of, or that you want to put to a good cause? Because today is the last day to donate! Items can be brought to the Violence Prevention and Response Office in 108B Haag Hall, or to the Oak Street or Hospital Hilly Residence Hall Lobbies. The denim donated will be used to make art for Denim Day, April 26th, 2017. You may be asking yourself what denim day and why it is important. April is sexual violence awareness month, and Denim Day is a campaign about sexual violence prevention and education.
In Rome in 1992, a woman was raped by her driving instructor. The man was convicted and sentenced. However, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1998 because the victim wore tight jeans. In their minds, because her jeans were so tight, clearly she had to have helped the man remove them, which means she must have consented. Visit the Denim Day website for more information on the case, and the activism surrounding it.
This ruling sparked outrage across the world, as it should. Now, on April 26th, women are encouraged to wear jeans of all kinds to say “Yes, we are wearing jeans. No, that doesn’t mean you can rape me”. There are many misconceptions about rape.
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One of the biggest misconceptions being that a woman is “asking for it” because of the clothes she’s wearing. In the end, NO means NO. It doesn’t matter what a woman is wearing; it doesn’t matter if she’s been flirting with a man all night; it doesn’t matter if she went to a man’s house. If she says no, it means no.
Stand with us on denim day and show that as women, we can wear whatever we please.
by Thea Voutiritsas
The fight to end violence against women is not merely a female issue; it’s a human dilemma. Men’s voices are an important part of the dialogue. On Wednesday, February 8, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the Atterbury Student Success Center, Room 237, 5000 Holmes St., join a group of dedicated V-Men and participate in a conversation about ending violence against women and girls. This workshop is open to only those who identify as male. Pizza will be provided. Co-sponsored by the UMKC Violence Prevention & Response Program, UMKC Student Auxiliary Services, and UMKC Men of Color Initiative.
by Matiara Huff
The Vagina Monologues is an episodic play by Eve Ensler. The plays are based on the stories of over 200 women who Eve interviewed around the world. It started with conversations with friends about the injustices that people with vaginas face. It evolved into finding deep connections to women all over the world facing uniquely similar issues. Each monologue is about a different aspect of the feminine experience, tackling subjects like sex, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, and vaginas. All performances are non-profit and all money earned goes toward groups working to end violence against women and girls. Over $100 million has been raised by this event so far.
The Vagina Monologues spawned a global movement called V-Day. V-Day surrounds The Vagina Monologues to promote awareness and raise money for organizations working to end violence. Hence the slogan, “Until the Violence Stops.” There have been performances all over the world, and that includes UMKC.
Be sure to see the show and support local organizations working against violence. It will be in the UMKC Student Union Theater on Thursday, February 16 at 7pm. Tickets are now available to purchase through the Central Ticket Office.
V-Day UMKC 2017 will be presenting benefit screenings of Until the Violence Stops. The film documents the start and success of V-Day and The Vagina Monologues. Join us this Tuesday, January 31 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. in the Oak Street Residence Hall basement, 5051 Oak St.; or on Saturday, February 4, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, 4801 main St., KCMO. Donations accepted. Proceeds from all activities benefit the UMKC Women’s Center and V-Day 2017’s spotlight campaign. Co-sponsored by the UMKC Violence Prevention & Response Program, UMKC Masters of Social Work Student Organization, UMKC Residence Life, and Kansas City Public Library.
by Thea Voutiritsas
Join us this Thursday as V-Day returns to UMKC. Proceeds from all activities benefit the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Program and the UMKC Women’s Center.
Thursday, February 18, 2016 in the UMKC Student Union Theater. Free parking will be available on the 5th and 6th floors of the Cherry Street Garage.
Time: Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; performance at 7:30 p.m.
Advance tickets: $10 Students, $20 non-students
At the Door: $15 Students, $25 non-students
To purchase tickets call the Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222 or copy this link: http://tickets.cto.umkc.edu/loader.aspx/?target=hall.aspx%3Fevent%3D6920
For more information contact Kacie Otto at email@example.com.
By Torshawna Griffin
On March 11, 2015, Women’s Center, the UMKC Library, Multicultural Student Affairs, and the Black Studies Program teamed up to give a wonderful book discussion called “Flowers and Girls that Bloom: A Feminist Coming of Age Story in Nigeria”. The discussion was based on Chimanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, the first book that she published.
The story is narrated in third person, and tells the life of Kambili and her younger brother Jaja. It discusses the battles that they face with domestic violence being ever present in their home. They have an extremely religious father that uses bible verse and catholic teachings to justify the pain and torment that they endure while living up under his roof. The violence doesn’t just stop there either, Kambilia and Jaja’s mother is also abused by her husband. His violence causes her to have two miscarriages.
The only taste of being normal and happiness that Kambili and Jaja receive us when they visit their Aunty Ifeoma. They begin to see a different family dynamic that they have never experienced before. And it makes them question the “love” that they receive from their father. I think this book is a wonderful coming of age story.
The book discussion was a well-attended event where students and staff were represented diversely. Everyone was able to take part in an open discussion about the high and lows about the story and how they felt after reading it. It made for a wonderful afternoon. I recommend reading this book and the others that Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche has published.
Image source through Google Images via Creative Commons
By Kemora Williams
“Why does she stay?” is a question that Leslie Morgan Steiner answered in her Ted Talk. The Ted Talk is titled “Crazy Love” after the book she wrote telling her dark story of how she was madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened to kill her. In the book, she also corrects the misconceptions about domestic violence and explains the way in which she thinks that everyone can help break the silence around domestic violence.
Leslie Steiner identifies the stages and signs that she missed when just dating her husband before the physical abuse began. At the beginning, she said there was not a hint of control, anger, or violence. However, she did not know that the stages in any domestic violence relationship was to charm and seduce the victim, isolate the victim and then threaten the victim. She describes how her husband went about she stages and explained why she missed these important signs.
When domestic violence comes up, many ask “Why does she stay?” Leslie Steiner answered, “I did not know he was abusing me. I never thought of myself as a battered wife. Instead I was a very strong woman in love with a deeply troubled man and I was the only person on Earth who could help Conner face his demons.” Like many other women, Leslie did not leave because she did not know she was being abused but more importantly because she knows how difficult and dangerous it is to leave an abuser. To hear more about Leslie Morgan Steiner’s story, please listen to this Ted Talk. It’s valuable and worth your time.
By DeDe Jones
In case you didn’t know, October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and the Women’s Center is really passionate about preventing domestic violence! In fact, we have an event on Friday, October 10th from 11 am- 1 pm in the Miller Nichols Learning Center lobby, which is all about ending and raising awareness for domestic violence. The event is entitled the “I Can, We Can Day of Action” and you have the opportunity to create a small piece of art work that can go a long way in helping to end violence.
Domestic Violence Awareness month first began in 1981 and was built around the first Day of Unity. It began with the intentions to connect battered women’s advocates across the country. It then turned into a week full of different activities to bring awareness and now we work to bring awareness for a full month! Almost 20 people a minute experience physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States. As a campus and community, we must work together to decrease this statistic.
I encourage every student, faculty member, and staff member to become involved in the events the Women’s Center has planned to raise awareness during Domestic Violence awareness month, including the “I Can, We Can Day of Action.” TAKE A STAND AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE! Here is a link to our Facebook event for the “I Can, We Can Day of Action”: https://www.facebook.com/events/448870841921106/
By Farah Dabbagh
The Clothesline Project is an annual event that campuses all over the country host. The project aims to raise awareness about the sad realities of domestic and sexual violence and to help victims express their emotions about their personal experiences through a different medium, while knowing they are not alone. The way the project achieves these goals is by letting victims decorate t-shirts and then hang them up on a clothesline all throughout campus.
The idea behind the t-shirts and the clothesline comes from the history that laundry is often looked at as “women’s work,” and women from close-knit neighborhoods would regularly discuss things while hanging their laundry out to dry. A small group of women started the first Clothesline Project in Hyannis, Massachusetts in October of 1990. That original project saw 31 shirts on display during the annual “Take Back the Night” march and rally. Now, the official Clothesline website states there is an estimation of 500 Clothesline Projects happening nationally and internationally and estimated 500,000 to 600,000 shirts being made.
The UMKC Women’s Center has been partaking in the Clothesline Project for several years now, and it has only grown. We are excited to organize this event each year and look forward to the impact it will have on the campus as well as the hopeful support it provides the survivors. This year the event will be on October 1st from 9am-5pm. It will be held on the UMKC Quad area, which is located at 52nd and Rockhill Rd. Students and faculty can come to the Women’s Center and decorate a t-shirt and hang it up on the clothesline as well as gain some information about the Women’s Center and the services we offer. This year’s Clothesline Project is the first event to kick off the first day of domestic violence awareness month! Come out and see us!