Thursday, March 19, 2015

Make History During Women's History Month

After International Women’s Day, and amidst Women’s History Month, I reflect on what it is, what it was, and what it will be – to be a woman. I suppose it’s quite different everywhere.

In many parts of the world, women are mistreated and abused. This is accepted behavior in a number of cultures, and standing up against this abuse from within the community can be life-threatening. Then there are small pockets of matrilineal communities like the Maliku in India or the Mosuo in China where abuse is rare, if existent at all.

Here in Clark County, we experience both the freedoms of our current culture and the oppressions of a lingering one. As a result, women and children are abused, raped, bought, sold or disrespected in another regard. Also, as a result, those of us living free of abuse are in a unique position to take action against it, without fear that we will be arrested, jailed, or beaten.
Action can take on many forms. Here are just a few examples:

Carry that Weight
College student Emma Sulkowicz carried a mattress around campus during her sophomore year, drawing international attention to the issue of campus rape. As a result of Emma’s actions, and those of thousands of others less publicized actions, colleges all over the US are being required to implement sexual assault training programs for faculty and staff. Many other colleges are taking additional steps to protect the victim’s rights.

Erin Merryn changes legislation
Guest speaker at YWCA’s luncheon in 2012, Erin Merryn is changing legislation one state at a time. Erin travels from state to state to get Erin’s Law enacted across the US. In addition to continuing education and training for teachers, the law provides that health education programs require age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention. 

Prompted by the NFL’s response to Ray Rice, and other abusive players, #WhyIStayed engaged people in a conversation all over the world about why victims stay in abusive relationships. It was followed by an even more empowering conversation about #WhyILeft

Take advantage of your freedoms, and use them to free your neighbors, friends, and community members from abuse and oppression. At YWCA, we can help.

For nearly 100 years, YWCA Clark County has advocated for the rights of oppressed populations. Stand with us as we advocate for change in legislation that supports survivors, eliminates oppression, and protects children. Share our contact information with a neighbor or friend who may need help. Join us as a volunteer, donor or partner, and together, we can fight oppression and abuse.

Volunteer training starts April 2, 2015
To get involved in volunteering or in other ways, find us online or call us at 360-696-0167