Walk a Mile in Her Shoes : Take a step toward preventing sexual violence

By Kara Lewis

Our staff is fueled by feminism… and this week, a little more coffee than usual. We’ve been busy putting up fliers, plugging our Facebook event, and organizing crates of high heels.

Our biggest fall event and fundraiser, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, is this Thursday at 5:30 in the University Playhouse. Schools and other organizations across the world participate in different Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events each year. When men register for the march and strap on heels to stand in solidarity with women, they become part of the international movement to end rape and gender violence.

That sounds big, right? Yes, the issue is monumental— according to statistics from RAINN, one in six American women has survived completed or attempted sexual assault. The problem gains prevalence on campus: Women in college stand three times more likely to face this terrifying, inexcusable crime.

Our event Thursday offers an opportunity to start advocating by taking one step, then another, around the University Playhouse. Take this step with the dozens of others who have already registered. Take this step with people who are both long-term feminists and those who are new to the cause.

Take this step for a reason that’s important to you.

I choose to cheer at the event, design posters and write this blog because I believe we are all responsible in building a campus culture that pushes back against sexual violence.

Join me and register for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. Bonus: Reward yourself with pizza after the walk— 15 percent of your bill at Pizza 51 will benefit the Women’s Center.

Join Us for Denim Day on April 26!

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.

click to enlarge

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.

V-Day UMKC presents benefit screenings of Until the Violence Stops

vday-2014-450x232pxV-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.

Personal Space

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckc21Cdblsc[/youtube]

By Matiara Huff

This slam poetry video featuring Reagan Meyers a great description of what it feels like when a women’s personal space is constantly being invaded.  It is degrading when someone ignores my existent and lazily reoccupy the space I am taking up. No one deserve to be force to feel small and insignificant. Try to be mindful of the people around you, consider how they might be feeling. Someone’s personal space should not be a tactic for negation or away to make yourself more comfortable. If you feel like your personal space is being invaded, speak up. You deserve to always be comfortable where ever you are.

Transwomen in Prison

Image courtesy of Flikr.

By Zaquoya Rogers

The Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” highlights many different female experiences that tend to occur in prisons across the globe. They portrayed the problems of women in prison within every race, sexual orientation and background. One that caused an increase in conversation was about trans women and how they were being treated within prison. Since, obviously, male and females are separated into different prisons, where do transwomen fit? People started asking what it means to be a women. Also, why are transwomen’s gender is being trivialized? Lindsay King-Miller states “A woman, no matter her background, should never be asked to prove she is a woman.”

Laverne Cox, a transwomen actor and speaker, played Sophia Burset in the popular series and accurately depicted the struggle and mistreatment of transwomen in prison. In prison, transwomen go through difficulty in consistently receiving necessary hormone medication. In Season One, Sophia’s medication had been reduced because it wasn’t deemed as necessary which caused her male characteristics like facial hair to return. This happens in prisons today and scars transwomen’s sense of self.  A transwomen inmate named Mary was placed in the male prison Boggo Road Gaol located in Australia. She was denied any access to hormones medication. She states, “It was like my identity was taken away from me. I look like a woman and I think if a transgender person is genuine and they are living as the opposite sex, then they should be housed in a female prison, even if you’re in a wing on your own.” Denial of one’s gender is abuse and is not fair.   

In Season Three, Sophia clashes with some of her fellow inmates and is brutally attacked by the same group. Instead of punishing the perpetrators, Sophia is the one sent to the SHU (Security Housing Units/Solitary Confinement) supposedly for her protection. In reality, this type of solution downgrades transwomen and serves as an injustice. Not only do transwomen experience abuse, discrimination and bullying when serving time but they cannot count on higher authority in prison to ensure their safety. They are turned against and devalued as human beings simply because of who they identify as. This is a problem that won’t change unless more conversations take place about these injustices. I think that a great majority of people still see being transgender as something unnatural. This is why transwomen are subjected to so much abuse. The more we speak on it and accept people for who they are and not who we want to see them as, the better it will get for transwomen.

 

The Girl Cell

Image sourced through Google Images via Creative Commons

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.

Why Does She Stay?

Image source through Google Images via Creative Commons

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.

Vagina Monologues to be Staged at UMKC!

2015-VDAY-posterBy 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!

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.

Throwback Thursday

By: Amanda Johnson

Last June, the World Health Organization published a revealing and haunting study. WHO found that nearly one-third of all women in the world have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. WHO calls violence against women a global health problem of epidemic proportions.

Click the links to learn more:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/violence_against_women_20130620/en/

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs239/en/