Step Forward to No Violence

By Jordan Tunks

Domestic violence is a very serious in the United States. Domestic violence is defined as violence or abuse in a domestic setting such as a marriage or cohabitation. By definition, domestic violence does not cover stalking, threatening, controlling, or depriving and only covers physical assaults. According to ncadv.org 10 million women and men are physically abused each year by an intimate partner. That is 10% of the United State population. Domestic violence is more than twice as likely to happen to women than men. 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence compared to 1 in 9 men. Hawaii and California saw a problem with this and knew there needed to be a change.

Hawaii and California have taken a huge step for society and passed the nation’s first laws against coercive control. Coercive control is the nonphysical abuse including psychological, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse. The anticipated outcome of this control is for the dependent to isolate themselves from support systems, regulate how they live their everyday life, and deprive them of needs to be independent and be on their own. Domestic abuse laws typically focus on physical abuse and coercive control laws focus more on the steps prior to the physical assault in hopes to stop it before it gets physical.

Hawaii signed the law into effect on September 15, 2020. The law defines coercive control as a “pattern of threatening, humiliating, or intimidating actions that take away the individual’s liberty or freedom and strip away the individual’s sense of self, including bodily integrity and human rights”. The Hawaii law classifies coercive control a class A felony and allows for criminal prosecution.

California signed the law into effect on September 29, 2020. The California law defines coercive control as “pattern of behavior that in purpose or effect unreasonably interferes with a person’s free will and personal liberty”. California has hopes this will allow survivors to speak against their abusers and provide them more ground to seek justice for themselves and get an abuser off the streets.

More states are already looking into this law. This is a big step forward for California and Hawaii that hopefully all states will look into and consider seriously. This can help stop violence at the root and before it becomes physical. This law needs to be publicized more and people should get educated on the topic and how they can help.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

By Mia Lukic

October marks both Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the month of Indigenous People’s Day on October 12th, 2020. The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women reports that 4 out of 5 native women are affected by violence today. The National Institute of Justice released a study that said 55.5% of native women experience physical violence by an intimate partner. Native women are murdered at a rate 10 times the national average, and they go missing and/or are murdered at a higher rate than any other ethnic group, according to Native Women’s Society. The lack of communication between tribes, local, and federal law enforcement are often cited as the reason only around 12% of missing indigenous women are entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Person System.

Last month, Congress passed two bills, Savanna’s Act, and the Not Invisible Act, which are focused on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women, and they await the president’s signature. Harper’s Bazaar breaks them down to explain:

Savanna’s Act is named after Savanna LaFontaine, a native woman who was brutally murdered in 2017. This act requires that the Justice Department reports statistics on native people, create and train law enforcement on the protocol for missing and murdered indigenous people, and reach out to tribes and organizations focused on indigenous rights.

The Not Invisible Act demands that the Department of the Interior “designate an official within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to coordinate prevention efforts, grants, and programs related to missing Indians and the murder and human trafficking of Indians” (HB).

These bills are a good step towards justice and can only be attributed to the tireless work of activists who fought and continue to fight for indigenous women. The statistics of violence against indigenous women are horrendous, and for people to still have to fight for something to be done about it is disgraceful. Do not forget the indigenous woman during Violence Prevention Month, or any month. Take some time on the 12th to learn what land you are standing on, go to school on, work on, live on. The website https://native-land.ca/ will break down the tribes that lived on the land before you with a simple zip code input.

Join Us for Walk A Mile In Her Shoes®

By Skye VanLanduyt

In 2001, Psychologist Frank Baird founded Walk A Mile In Her Shoes® to encourage men to think about how gender violence affects women. At the event, men are asked to walk a mile in women’s shoes to bring awareness and understanding to women’s experiences, improve gender relationships, and decrease the potential for violence. To learn more about Walk A Mile In Her Shoes®, and its mission go to https://www.walkamileinhershoes.org/index.html#.XXqtUy2ZPfs

The Women Center’s website states since 2007, over 1,000 people at UMKC have participated in the event. This participation has increased awareness of rape, sexual assault, gender violence, and funds for the UMKC Women’s Center and UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Program.

UMKC Librarian, Scott Curtis is a previous participant and longtime supporter of Walk A Mile In Her Shoes®. He says, “walking in high heels allowed him time to think about the discomfort women feel due to social conventions based on sexism.” As the school year starts, Curtis believes participating in Walk A Mile In Her Shoes® is important because it will give students and staff the opportunity to “come together and, through a little fun and a lot of reflection, work toward making UMKC a better place.”

This year, UMKC’s new athletic director, Dr. Brandon Martin will be providing the opening remarks. As director, he says “I believe it’s my job to be a leader for the athletic department but I also believe in being a leader for a larger part of the campus.” His involvement hits close to home, “as a parent of two daughters” he says, “it is important to take a stronger stance against sexual violence.” Martin hopes Walk A Mile In Her Shoes® will continue gaining momentum for UMKC’s fight to decrease gender violence.

Our Student Body President, Justice Horn will be co-leading the event with Martin as the MC. Horn says he feels “it is our duty, in positions of influence, and positions of power to be allies toward the fight for equality for women.” Much like Martin, Horn says Walk A Mile In Her Shoes® is personal. “My mom makes the money in our family and is usually the only woman in the room.” Horn hopes those in attendance this year “understand that everyone needs to be in this fight towards equality.”

We hope you will join us this Thursday! All are welcome.

When: Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 5:30. A kick-off will take place before the march, which will start at 6pm.

Where: UMKC University Playhouse, 51st & Holmes St., Kansas City, MO 64110

Admission: Free!

A limited supply of shoes will be provided by the UMKC Women’s Center, so we encourage you to bring your own shoes!

Participants are asked to wear heels to the walk but are not required to.

If there is inclement weather, the event will be held at Jazzman’s, Student Union, 5100 Cherry St., Kansas City, MO 64110.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)

By Caitlin Easter

“People want this to be an anomaly…. we can handle monsters, we can’t handle our neighbors doing these things. We can’t believe these are the same people we see at Christmas parties, and basketball games.” ― T. E. Carter

Did you know that 1 in every 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime? Did you know that in 8 out of every 10 rapes, the victim knew the perpetrator? April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so let’s talk about it. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center defines Sexual Assault Awareness Month as “a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.” This year’s theme is “I Am,” and serves to “champion the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.”

In its officially documented capacity, this year is the 18th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM); if you’re wondering why this month should be important to you, I’ll tell you why—sadly, almost everyone knows a victim or a perpetrator, and sexual assault doesn’t seem to be a thing that is getting better. This campaign aims to bring awareness and spark a conversation about sexual assault and its long lasting effects. As we talk about it more, we create a safer and less stigmatized space to come forward and say #MeToo.

This month the Women’s Center, in partnership with campus sororities, will be hosting a Denim Drive from April 8 – April 19 and a Reclaiming Denim art event on April 19 where we will decorate the denim to prepare for Denim Day on April 24 where all of the denim artwork will be displayed on the quad as part of a sexual assault awareness campaign. We would love for you to join us!

The NSVRC has some amazing resources for understanding and teaching consent for Sexual Assault Awareness month. If you would like to view these resources, you can find them at https://www.nsvrc.org/saam

You can read more about the history of SAAM at: https://www.nsvrc.org/saam/history

The 2019 Vagina Monologues

By Mackinzie Aulgur

“…find freedom, aliveness, and power not from what contains, locates, or protects us, but from what dissolves, reveals, and expands us.”- Eve Ensler

We all deserve to be ourselves, stand up for what we believe in, and voice our opinions; each and everyone one of us. This Thursday and Friday, February 21st-22nd, UMKC will be presenting the Vagina Monologues! Doors open at 7pm and performances will take place at 7:30pm. This year the monologues will have 18 presenters, all of which play vital parts. The Vagina Monologues are personal monologues read by a diverse group of women in our community. Their stories will touch on subjects such as sex, sex work, body image, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, and various names for the vagina. The main theme in the play is redefining the vagina to be seen as a symbol of female empowerment and the embodiment of our individuality (Mission, 2019).

In collaboration with V-Day, we will be selling our famous vagina pops (milk and dark chocolate), t-shirts, feminist mugs, Trailblazers’ blend coffee, and a variety unique of buttons before and after the performances. For those who may not know, V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. In fact, according to the United Nations, one of every three women on the planet will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime (Mission, 2019). While we cannot change the past, we have the opportunity to come together as a community, to show support and raise awareness for a better future. Please join us at this years Vagina Monologues as we all reflect on what unifies us in our fight for this goal.

Mission. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.vday.org/mission.html

Thursday, February 21. UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry St. 

  • Advance tickets: $10 for students, $25 for non-students, $5 each for groups of 5 or more students
  • At the door: $15 for students, $30 for non-students

Friday, February 22. UMKC Spencer Theater, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St. 

  • Advance tickets: $10 for students, $35 for non-students, $5 each for groups of 5 or more students
  • At the door: $15 for students, $40 for non-students

Tickets may be purchased through Central Ticket Office. Proceeds from all activities benefit the UMKC’s Women’s Center, Violence Prevention and Response Program and V-Day’s 2019 spotlight campaign.

 

Carry That Weight

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Rocky Richards

Have you heard of Emma Sulkowicz? Emma Sulkowicz is a junior at Columbia University who was sexual assaulted on the first day of her sophomore year. Initially not wanting to tell anyone, Emma was quiet for a long time. Later, finding out that two other young women she knows were sexually assaulted by that same person, Emma stood up to make a change. She spoke up and let others know what happened to her. Emma took matters into her own hands and began rallying other victims and activists around campus to make a statement by deciding to carry there mattress’s across campus. By carrying her mattress around until her rapist is expelled from campus, she symbolizes the weight she carries around as a victim of sexual assault. Imagine the powerful image of Emma lugging a huge mattresses around every day on Columbia’s campus. More and more people joined her, the Carry That Weight Movement had begun.

Carry That Weight is a movement among college students and activists who are striving to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Their goal is to raise awareness of sexual assault, advocate for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses, and challenge rape culture. Do you know that 673,000 women currently attending U.S. colleges and universities have experienced rape at some point in their lifetime? Sexual assault on college campus has been and still is a major issue within society today. When parents send their children off to college, they expect that they are going to be safe. They don’t expect that their child will come home stating they’ve been sexually assaulted on campus. Things must be done differently and resources must be put into place to change these statistics on sexual assault today! Sexual assault is a hard situation to speak out about, so we applaud Emma Sulkowicz for standing up for not only herself but advocating for other victims as well.

The Strength of “Her”

By Ayo Aruwajoye

UMKC's Violence Prevention and Response Project promotes violence prevention in the UMKC community.

UMKC’s Violence Prevention and Response Project promotes violence prevention in the UMKC community.

Working at the Woman’s Center, I can truly say I have grown. One of the big lessons that I learned is that us as women are very strong. I wrote this poem around the time of Sexual Assault Awareness month last year. Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. This poem describes a woman that has been through so much in life in general, but to be specific, in her relationship, and she still remains strong optimistic. This is the kind of woman that I want to be when I grow up. I have heard stories from friends, family, and strangers about different things they go through, like domestic violence, sexual harassment, relationship dominancy, and stereotyping. We hear so many stories about the bad things that woman go through like unfair payment issues, teen pregnancy, but we never take the time to reward these woman for moving forward, for standing up for what they believe in or even for remaining STRONG through all the turmoil and tribulations. Every woman should realize how strong she is and praise themselves for being such strong woman. Neither a man, nor the government has a say in what a woman’s worth is. I commend all the survivors of any sort or discrimination, embarrassments, or sexual assault because that’s the example we should set for other woman and young teenage girls that you are to be treated fairly, equally and with respect, Stand up for what’s right and stay strong, because better days will come.

***

The Strength of “Her”

It’s the strength of her that shows why her presence is demanding like the rush of cold wind on a snowy day.
It’s the strength of her, that’s why her smile refuses to fade away
What is it about a woman, the way we hurt but solemnly stay?
Wishing that tomorrow could be so much of a better day!
Is it the way her Hips sway that tells the Pain she’s on her way?
Because it seems like instead of walking away, she’s running at a faster pace
The yearn to be loved, but the confusion above, mind all over the place, so hard to crack this Love case
The strength of her is overwhelming, overbearing and overrated
Who designed us to be this strong, to go through all the emotions of a love song?
It’s the strength of her that lets you think I’m okay
She nods her head up and down, like accepting a check on pay day
In my mind…. No in HER mind, she’s screaming for just one escape
One superhero with a red, long cape
I know he sees her tears, the ones that fall from fear
I know he feels her, she knows too
They sit there with nothing to say, nothing to do
The only similarity is their strengths showcase
He’s is the physical aspect
But her emotional aspect has lifted the weights
Showed its face, fought the same old race, and still had time to reminisce on the day
It’s the strength of her that lets her ignore foolish ways
Yes, she’s aware of your continuous lacking words every day
It’s the strength of her that she can say…
That the strength of her makes her Okay
It’s the strength of her that shows why her presence is demanding like the rush of cold wind on a snowy day.
It’s the strength of her, that’s why her smile refuses to fade away
What is it about a woman, the way we hurt but solemnly stay?
Wishing that tomorrow could be so much of a better day!

Continuing to Promote Awareness Even After Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Maritza Gordillo

The Clothesline Project that took place on October 1 on the Quad.

The Clothesline Project that took place on October 1 on the Quad.

October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month and now that we are entering into November, I would like to give thanks to all of those who participated in our events and stood up against domestic violence! I would also like to thank all of those organizations on our campus and in the community that help promote awareness every day. Something I believe is important is prevention, and even though October was the month to promote awareness, this is an issue that should be promoted year- round. According to domesticviolencestatistics.org, 3 or more women are murdered every day in the U.S by their spouse or intimate partner. This is a terrifying statistic and it proves that we should keep working on preventing these incidents in our country and, of course, all

Our I CAN, WE CAN Day of Action featuring Shrink Art!

Our I CAN, WE CAN Day of Action featuring Shrink Art!

over the world. Working with the Violence Prevention & Response Project has only made me realize that wanting to become a social worker and work with domestic violence victims will be of great satisfaction because I will be changing the world one life, one child, and one family at a time.

For more information on other Violence Prevention and Response Project and Women’s Center events, please visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

1 is 2 Many PSA

Check out this awesome PSA on Violence Against Women from the White House. Share it, step up and speak out!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXox6ma1gtE[/youtube]