Second Wave Feminism: A Word From Scotty Johnson

by Danielle Lyons

I often joke that I was doomed to be a feminist from an early age. Instead of reading me children’s books, my grandmother told me stories about the how the 40’s – 60’s were for her as a women. Beautiful and tragic stories about body image, early days of reproduction rights and the pressures of domestic life. The bottom line always being, “You are powerful. You get to choose what treatment you accept.” She inspired me to care so deeply about the rights of women. I don’t believe she was aware of her feminism or what a bit impact it would have.

Second-wave feminist are important in our history as women. These beautiful, powerful and inspiring women paved the way to ensure us women today had a better life. These are the women that brought is, “Take Back the Night,” “The Equal Rights Amendment,” “The Equal Pay Act,” and “Title IX.”

It is my goal to learn as much as I can from these powerful women. This is important information to obtain. To kick off this journey for knowledge I interviewed a Women’s Center patron and participant of The Vagina Monologues, Scotty Johnson. This is what she had to say:

“When I was very young I became aware expectations were different for 11998638_10208036024010898_829682865_nmy brother and me. My role was to be pleasant and learn ‘women’s work’. His was to be strong and prepare for college and a career. No one seemed to care if I was smart and later good in school. Without knowing what it was my feminist self was born then. Ever since I have balked at the unfairness of gender based roles. I have become more outspoken. Naturally, with time I have become more educated and aware of the huge scope of women’s rights. Growing up in small town Midwest USA, I wasn’t exposed to much feminism except to hear it ridiculed by folks who just had no clue what it was or what it really meant. I was a closet feminist so as not to cause discord. Looking back, it seems apparent to me that pressures on women haven’t really changed. They have been re-defined and in some ways added to partially because of the progress each generation is making in feminism.

My spine became a bit more steely with the birth of my daughters. I still didn’t label the things I felt or thought about the gender biased role expectations. But, as a mom I was becoming more aware, less tolerant of it and more outspoken against it. For many years, to me it wasn’t just “feminist” it was about “fairness” and what I felt was “right” as a human. My feminism is solid but flexible. By that I mean, my method of being a proponent of feminism changes dependent upon the need. I recognize not everyone with whom I come in contact is going to instantly “see the light”. I am trying to be content with planting seeds. Other women inspire me. Other feminists who spend their days busily living their lives the best they can and yet will always take the time to lift other women up. My circle of friends constantly prod me to act, to be strong to share my feminism with pride. My adult daughters inspire me and prod me to action to help them create a world worthy of my grandchildren. I think in some ways we are still creating a niche that is not defined by men in all areas of life. This puts the added pressure of letting go of much that women have been programmed to believe in order to truly create a place that fits women, instead of women working to fit into a place already partially created.

Do the best you can to be faithful to the person who lives inside you. Don’t be afraid of growth, but remember sometimes that process is uncomfortable. Women are smart and caring and Strong. Be That!”

Wise works spoken from a wonderful woman.

A Year of Amazing Events!

By Patsy Campos

The UMKC Women’s Center has hosted a variety of events where we have reached many new and returning audiences throughout the Fall 2010-Spring 2011 term. Our events make an important contribution to the campus and public community by bringing awareness to the importance and advancement of women’s equity. This year our programs included networking events, textile art workshops, special performances and rallies and marches.

Some of our biggest annual events are:

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

The Vagina Monologues

“Rock Who You Are” Fashion Show

Take Back the Night

Her Art Project

The month of May marks the end of one year for the Women’s Center’s dedicated student staff, but it certainly is not the end of the Women’s Center! Please stop by throughout the summer and next fall to learn more about our upcoming programming. We want to thank all of you for supporting the Women’s Center and giving us the opportunity to create and host successful events and programs. Thank you to our blog readers and for communicating with us through Twitter and Facebook. The Women’s Center wishes all of you a fantastic summer!

SAAM Neighbor

By Bethany Reyna

Image c/o

For my Public Speaking class this semester we had to write a speech commemorating someone or something. During my speech I talked about all of the big events that the Women’s Center puts on, with an emphasis on Sexual Assault Awareness Month and specifically Take Back the Night. When I was finished presenting, a classmate asked me why I cared so much. She wanted to know if there was a specific reason why I did this and why I chose to work at the Women’s Center. At first I had to think about it. I knew this cause was something I had always cared about, but I couldn’t think of a specific reason. By the end of the class though, I had remembered an experience with my next-door neighbor growing up.

*Walter and his wife Ruth had four kids. Two were close to my age and there were also two older girls. They were all homeschooled, so I thought of them as my “home friends” as opposed to my “school friends”.  According to my mother, I wasn’t allowed inside their house for more than a few hours because she and my stepdad thought that Walter and Ruth were a little strange.

The year I turned ten, Walter was arrested for raping two 12 year old girls. When my mother told me who one of the girls was, I vaguely matched a face to a girl who rode the same school bus as me. I remembered her being mean and unpleasant, but at that moment I felt terrible. I thought about how she must have felt when it happened and then how she felt now that Walter had been arrested. I had never really thought of her as being strong, but I remember thinking that it must have taken a lot of strength to tell someone and to talk about what had happened, especially at just 12 years old. As I write this I can still picture what her house looked like in my head and how I would drive by on the bus or ride by on my bike and wonder what she was thinking or how she was feeling at that very moment.

Girls like this are the reason why I want to work for organizations like the Women’s Center and the Violence Prevention and Response Project. I like knowing that the events that we put on may help girls either come forward with their stories, or be more likely to report sexual assault incidents in the future. We help raise awareness to help girls that are in these situations and don’t know what to do about it. I feel better knowing that an article I post, retweet or review may positively influence someone to tell their story or seek help for themselves or for someone that is important in their life. If you are interested in volunteering at the UMKC Women’s Center, please stop by 105 Haag Hall or email us at

*The names have been changed in this story to protect their actual identities.

Take Back the Night 2011

By Bethany Reyna

TBTN march to JC Nichols Fountain (2010)

A 501 (c)3 charity since 2001, Take Back The Night is a mission to end sexual violence and to support survivors of sexual assault. Every year, the global community holds their own Take Back the Night rallies and marches to help raise awareness to end sexual violence. Women from Missouri to India feel unsafe walking anywhere at night, which is why Take Back the Night was established.

The first international Take Back the Night took place in Brussels, Belgium in 1976. At that time it was called the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women. Two thousand women representing over 40 countries attended the Tribunal. The first Take Back the Night in the United States occurred in Philadelphia in October 1975. Both events were candlelight processions through the streets of their respective cities.

This Wednesday, April 20th, marks the 7th annual Take Back the Night at UMKC, which corresponds with Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The event will begin at 6:30 with a pre-march rally in the UMKC quad. At 7:30 the march will begin, starting in the quad and departing to the JC Nichols fountain where we will have a speakout with several survivors of sexual violence. I encourage everyone to come out to this event. I went last year and not only was it fun, but taking control of our own safety was empowering. For more information stop by the Women’s Center in 105 Haag Hall, or email us at

So What If You Are A Man, You Are Still Important to the Women’s Center

“So why is there only a women’s center and not a men’s center?”

“How can a man benefit from a women’s center?”

These are just a couple questions the Women’s Center staff at UMKC receives from men who walk into our office.  We are constantly asked these questions because there seems to be a perception that men are not welcome in the Women’s Center or that the programs and services that we offer don’t have anything to do with them.   Could it be the name “Women’s Center” that deters men, or is it, perhaps, a certain chauvinism that makes men feel that they don’t need to be concerned about woman’s issues?

Here at the UMKC Women’s Center, our mission is to advocate, educate and provide support services for the advancement of women’s equity on campus and within the community at large. Although our primary concern focuses on women’s issues and the ongoing struggle for women’s equality, the center is also a place for advocacy, education, and support for both men and women who want to better understand gender issues.

Whether men know it or not, they can be a great asset to raising awareness for ongoing issues such as sexism, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other inequalities women endure on a daily basis.  Men too can have the power to help put an end to these issues. Besides being educated about issues like sexual assault, men can also take part in our events such as “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes”, or “Take Back the Night”, which are two of our events aimed at ending sexual and domestic violence.

So men, we do need your presence in the Women’s Center.  Women’s issues do impact you.  Think about it this way when you are questioning the importance of such a place to you: any of these issues like dating violence, could affect your spouse, girlfriend, mother, sister, niece, aunt, or cousin whom you love.  Each and every day these women you care about are struggling to make their presence more prevalent in society, to gain equality, and to feel safe.  With your help and your knowledge, there is another voice that has to be heard, and not just any voice, but the voice of a man who agrees with women’s issues and women’s equality.  If men continue to ignore such problems, then women will continue to face tribulations and endure not being heard by society.  Men, we need you to continue to raise more awareness about women’s issues. After all, women will always be a part of your life.

UMKC Takes Back the Night

Last night the UMKC Women’s Center hosted the march and rally, Take Back the Night. It all began in the UMKC quad with everyone gathering to make posters for the march and enjoy some free pizza and snag a free t-shirt courtesy of the APC. The posters included sayings to help promote awareness about sexual violence as well as to speak out against it. Some of the posters included sayings like “I’m here to help stop rape”, “Use your voice”, “Be bold! Be Strong! Take Action!”, “Men can stop Rape”, and “Make a Difference”. The posters that everyone made during our pre-rally event were carried as we marched from the quad to the JC Nichols Fountain across from the Plaza.

[youtube=]The pre-march event took place from 6:30pm to 7:15pm and not only was there free food and goodies, there was also a modern dance performance put on by the group “Mixed Blood.” The performance was designed to illustrate the stigma attached with being a survivor of sexual violence. The woman who choreographed the piece spoke for a few moments after the performance about how unfair and intolerable it is that survivors of sexual violence can be made to feel like they are dirty and shunned because of what happened to them. In addition to the performance there were also some speeches made before the march began. One of the speakers was Virginia Phillips from Planned Parenthood talking about the services that they offer, followed by community leader Jean Peters-Baker who addressed statistica related to sexual violence, and Jessica Farmer from Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, who talked about sexual violence in the LGBT community and some of the unique problems that LGBT victims face.

At about 7:15pm roughly 75 people started marching to the Plaza. Armed with the posters they had made and chants like “2, 4, 6, 8, no more date rape” and “Survivors unite take back the night”, the march continued through campus toward the JC Nichols Fountain. During the march, both men and women, of all ages and races, shouted, held up their posters, and tried to get everyone we passed to honk their horn in support. Luckily we had a police escort, which definitely made crossing the larger streets like Volker and Main safe for our group, and also drew attention to our cause.

Once we arrived at the rally point, all the marchers were handed bags that had water, a glow stick, and tons of information about MOCSA, KCAVP, Planned Parenthood, as well as our resources here at the Women’s Center, like our Violence Prevention and Response Project.  After some more rallying on the sidewalk at the intersection of Broadway and Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd, which was accompanied by Women of the Drum, everyone gathered around the makeshift stage to listen to a survivor tell their story.

The survivor, Diana Meyer, was introduced by Lisa Martin of MOCSA. Diana bravely told her story about being raped by her best friend’s husband after he drugged her beer. After she was raped she went to the hospital and was administrated a rape kit, which then took 2 years to process. After it was processed and the results came back proving the man guilty, it then took another six months for the D.A.’s office to tell her that they weren’t going to prosecute her case.  When she asked for the reason why, they told her it was because there was alcohol involved and there was no evidence she said “NO.”  Finally after much persistence from Diana, the DA agreed to prosecute the case.  The man was found guilty and convicted of rape. He only had to serve a total of 30 days in jail. After his release he was registered as a sex offender. Diana said that shortly after his stay in jail he moved to Texas where he was again arrested and convicted of soliciting sex from a minor online. He got 10 years community service and probation. He didn’t have to serve any more jail time. Diana said that she made the choice not to let him have any more control over her life. She called for other survivors to break the silence and to not let their rapists have any more control over their lives as well. Her story, while sad and distressing, was also one of triumph over violence and regaining control by breaking the silence. After she was finished, Lisa Martin came back up to talk a little bit about what MOCSA does, like offering support service to victims such as counseling, and she also pointed out that the bags lined up in front of the microphone were made by clients at MOCSA who were survivors. There were 17 bags. Martin told us to take the number and multiply it by 45, which is 765, and that is the number of people MOCSA helped last year alone.

The night ended with a moment of silence for survivors of sexual violence.

Take Back the Night is an event that is used to unify people and to promote awareness about sexual violence, but it is also a venue for people to break the silence and speak out. Whether or not you attended, we can all raise awareness and speak out in our own lives and communities, so that maybe one day we truly can say that the night has been taken back.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Activities

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project, along with the UMKC Women’s Center, and our campus and community co-sponsors will be hosting several events next week to mark the month. Please plan to join us at the following events:

  • SAAM Informational Tables. Monday, April 6; Time: 4-6 p.m.; Location:Oak Street Residence Hall courtyard.  The UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project will host informational tables at various locations throughout April. There will also be items for sale to raise awareness for sexual assault. Proceeds will benefit the Violence Prevention and Response Project.
  • SAAM Informational Tables. Tuesday, April 7; Time: 9-11 a.m. Location:Royal Hall First Floor. The UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project will host informational tables at various locations throughout April. There will also be items for sale to raise awareness for sexual assault. Proceeds will benefit the Violence Prevention and Response Project.
  • Take Back The Night. Tuesday, April 7; Time: Pre-march rally 6:30 p.m.; march begins 7:30 p.m.; speak-out at J.C. Nichols Fountain 8 p.m.; Location: Meet at Women’s Center. Join us for the fifth annual Take Back the Night march and rally, an event designed to unify women, men, and children in an awareness of violence against women, children and families. Take Back the Night began in England as a protest against the danger women encountered in the streets at night. The first Take Back the Night in the United States was held in San Francisco in 1978. For more information on Take Back the Night, please visit Click here to see the route map for the rally. Click here to view pictures from the 2006 Take Back The Night.