Walk and panel shine light on sexual violence
Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor
On Thursday, March 31, the Women’s Studies program welcomed all to join an open discussion about topics often swept aside to the peripherals of our attention.
“Our main goal is to promote and educate the community, not just Southern, but our youth,” said Christina Fawcett, a graduate student. “And to reduce slut shaming and victim blaming. People think it’s just in regards to females but it’s not. It’s in regards to everyone, essentially the other. How we portray the other and isolate the other and how we push them aside and throw them away, it’s to defend the other, that’s the main goal.”
At other college campuses slut walks have been a means to bring attention to issues that plague institutes of higher education and the larger community, such as slut shaming and sexual assault. However, these displays bring attention to the issue without providing any context. The goal for the discussion, facilitated by Fawcett and the Women’s Studies program, was to host a panel that created a conversation that would be engaging.
“UCONN had a few events like this in the making,” said Fawcett. “So it was already fully established, but they didn’t have a panel discussion, just a walk. UCONN had posters and signs, and I saw people with tutus and crazy pink hair wigs. That was a lot of fun, but I felt like it lacked the context and the discussion part of it. So we wanted to do both, to educate and have fun. We wanted our panel to have victims. Miss Susan Mazur was very kind to even share her story. I am a biracial women and I come from a lower income background. She’s essential a white women from the middle-upper class and I think that does show you that domestic violence does not discriminate.”
To bring these issues and topics to life, a range of professionals were invited to be a part of the panel, both to speak about these issues as well as to converse with the audience.
“It’s to give people emergency resources,” said Alisha Martindale, a graduate student. “We have Cathy Christy, the director of VPAS (Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy and Support Center). We have Lindsay Difrancisco, of the New Haven women and family center, so she is our moderator. Alberto Cifuentes Jr. is our community counselor. And Susan Mazur is a survivor.”
At its core this event was the product of passion and dedication to community, to educate others and provide support.
“I’m just very appreciative,” said Fawcett. “I came up with this idea and I didn’t think anyone would want to do it, or anyone would even support it. I thought I would have to do it by myself. I can not tell you how much positive support we have gotten. The first day of class, my entire cohort, people who work full time, people who go to school full time, people who are in dual master programs, everyone jumped on board. Words can’t explain how exhilarating this feeling is. I am on cloud nine, cloud 20. It’s so surreal. I’m so thankful, and these are things I am passionate about. I am a woman, a woman of color, and I come from a social-economic class status, although I’m not there anymore and I have elevated into a different class, I still feel like those things touch my community, and I am very community based. Right now Southern is my community, and I really feel if you’re educating your community and participating in it, even if you pick up a piece of paper off your floor, that’s participating in your community.”
Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor