Post Classifieds

Students gather to discuss violence

By Marissa Ditkowsky
On February 11, 2013

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management Gender Working Group held an event on Feb. 7 in the Alumni Lounge of the Usdan Student Center as a part of 'Deis Impact.

The event, titled "Gendered Violence is EVERYONE'S Problem," featured five panelists who broke out into five separate discussion groups based upon their areas of expertise. They spoke about the different areas in which gendered violence is present in society and how event participants could continue to work as allies for victims.

"One out of four women are survivors of abuse," said Caitlin Feuer, a first-year master's student of the Heller School who helped to organize the event, in an interview with the Justice. "[Gendered violence] affects people all over the place, and even if you aren't a survivor're still a part of society and society perpetuates norms that blames victims, asking why someone didn't leave rather than 'Why did the abuser do it?'"

The panelists included Outreach Manager Jenny Efimova of Casa Myrna Vazquez, a group that focuses on domestic violence prevention and was initially founded as a safe haven for victims of domestic violence in 1977; Engaging Men and Boys Fellow Yves Singletary, as a part of the Boston Public Health Commission's Engaging Men and Boys in Preventing Dating Violence Program; Community Awareness and Outreach Coordinator Stacey Lantz of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center; Project Manager Jessica Alder of the Boston Public Health Commission; Outreach and Education Manager Austin Bay of the GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project, formally known as the Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project.

During the brief discussion period prior to the breakout sessions, the panelists were asked to state the reasons for their involvement in education relating to and prevention of gendered violence.

"I care about gendered violence because trying to steal someone's right to their body and their self should not be accepted, condoned or glorified," said Alder in her response. "It is through norms like sexual violence and dating violence that limit society's response to these unjust acts."

Efimova discussed the significance of working with victims of domestic violence on her current involvement in Casa Myrna.

"It's one thing to want to do this work because you understand the injustice that happens, but it's different when you actually see it firsthand, and survivors and their experiences and their resilience is really inspiring," she said.

In the breakout sessions, the panelists primarily focused on victim blaming, strategies regarding becoming an ally to victims, understanding the culture of violence perpetuated by society and the presentation of violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer populations.

"Gender is really part of our life everywhere, whether that's gender identity, gender expression [or] the way we see gender represented in society," said Lantz during the panel discussion. "Having conversations about gender [and] gender violence and recognizing the...different perceptions that we hold can all go into conversations about ways to make our culture better and ways to reduce types of gender violence."

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