By Rocky Richards
For a long time, I never really even knew what a “catcall” really was. When individuals yelled mean, rude, sexist things to me on the street, I would look away or speed up my pace. I didn’t realize that I was being harassed. Just like me, many other women might not realize the catcalls they are experiencing are harassment, To shed some light and to attempt to end street harassment, the UMKC Women’s Center would like for you all to Meet Us on the Street!
Meet Us On The Street is a program created to stop street harassment. Street harassment may include but is not limited to catcalls, sexiest comments, public masturbation, groping, stalking, and assault. Throughout the week of April 13-17th, activists and individuals all over the country will work together to end street harassment. At UMKC, flyers have already been placed around campus and our social media pages are constantly providing information about how community members can help end sexual assault. Last but not least, look out for images chalked on the walkways across campus next week.If you come in contact with one of our chalked statements,please take a picture and post on your social media accounts with the hashtag #EndSHWeek. This way, individuals on campus will get the message-but so will people all over the world.
We look forward to Meeting YOU On The Street!
By Kacie Otto
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Women’s Center and the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response project have taken a few opportunities this month to raise awareness and support survivors.
Today, we hosted a Sexual Assault Awareness Month table in the Atterbury Student Success Center. Students could stop by our table and pick up information about what to do if they have been sexually assaulted and need resources on campus. Students could also create a shrink art key chain, which stands as a reminder that they can help end sexual violence.
I hope this event and others like it can help students see that the Women’s Center is a safe space for them if they’ve experienced sexual violence.
By Kemora Williams
Did you know that the month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month? Do you know what Denim Day is? Well, in Italy during the 1990s an 18 year old girl was raped by her 45 year old driving instructor. The case against the instructor was overturned and dismissed because the Chief Judge argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”
The women in the Italian Parliament were so upset with the ruling that within hours they took action and protested by wearing jeans to work. In April 1999, the first Denim Day was held in Los Angeles.
For Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in honor of Denim Day, the Women’s Center is hosting a Denim Day Drive for the entire month of April. Join this sexual violence prevention and education campaign and make a social statement by donating used denim to the Women’s Center. The drop off bins for your used denim are located at the Women’s Center, Oak Place Apartments, Johnson Residence Hall, and Oak Street Residence Hall. We’ll re-purpose your old denim by making them into visual displays that bear witness to sexual violence.
By Kacie Otto
This is my first time participating in The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler’s iconic play about the female experience. I have been lucky to see Kansas City women read these monologues that don’t seem to age. To me, the monologues are as poignant and exciting as they must have been in 1996.
Through coordinating this event, which is a benefit performance for the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project, I have been able to watch a community grow. Friendships have been made and healing has taken place.
Please support the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project by attending a fabulous and funny show. Click here to get tickets and click here to RSVP to the event. Tickets are also available at the door.
Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons
By Torshawna Griffin and Kacie Otto
V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls everywhere. Organizations all over the world put on benefit performances of Eve Ensler’s iconic play The Vagina Monologues to raise money for organizations that work to end violence. In 2009, Eve Ensler gave a TED talk about embracing your inner girl and how we all have a “girl cell” inside of us. She talks about how boys hide their inner girl cell and about how society doesn’t allow boys to embrace their inner girl cell because it is not masculine. She talks about changing the verb inside us and making them verbs that empower us as women. Eve lists different girls that have changed their verbs in order to empower themselves.
One story that she gives is of a young girl who ran away after hearing that her father wanted to sell her for cows and her fear of being cut. She ran away to the first V-Day Safe House. And stayed for a year until she could find the courage and bravery, so that she could go to reconcile with her father and care for him for the rest of his life.
UMKC’s Women’s Center has the privilege of hosting a benefit performance this year of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues on February 10, 2015 at 7:30pm. Click here to purchase tickets. Tickets are also available at the door.
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 Kacie Otto and Kemora Williams
Name of Event: The Vagina Monologues
Date and Time: February 10, 2015 at 7pm
Location: UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry Street
Admission charge: $10 for students, $20 for non-students in advance and $15 for students, $25 for non-students at the door.
Parking information: Parking will be available on the fifth floor of the Cherry St. Parking Garage
Coming up on February 10, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., the Women’s Center is sponsoring a benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues. Funds raised from the event will support the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project and VDay’s 2015 spotlight campaign, One Billion Rising. The Vagina Monologues will be held at the UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry Street. However tickets are required for this event, which you can purchase online at or by calling 816-235-6222. Tickets are also available at the door.
For more information, visit our VDay website. The Vagina Monologues is sure to be an empowering performance and we hope to see you there! What better way to support both the campus and community!
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!
In November of 2011, the American Association of University Women conducted a comprehensive survey with a national sample of students grades 7-12. The report offers the most comprehensive research on sexual harassment to date in these ages and reveals some sobering statistics about the prevalence of sexual harassment and the negative impact it has on students’ education.
The report concludes with concrete recommendations and promising practices for preventing sexual harassment. The recommendations are directed at school administrators, educators, parents, students, and community members. The AAUW hopes to inspire readers to take action to help stop this unfortunate epidemic.
Click the link here to download the full report or executive summary as well as additional resources.