Girls Fight Back at Eastern!

Girls Fight Back is an organization founded by Erin Weed in 2001. It was inspired by the late Shannon McNamara, who was murdered on June 12th, 2001. Girls Fight Back empowers students to learn about violence prevention withint their community in addition to self-defense skills. For over fifteen years, Girls Fight Back has been an inspiration for students around the country for learning the simplest, most effective techniques in self-defense and safety precautions. On September 22, 2015, Eastern Connecticut State University was honored to be visited by Girls Fight Back’s National Speaker Bree Swartz for an evening program. The presentation reviewed the basics of using your intuition, understanding the definition of consent, and safety tips such as having awareness, using eye-contact, and setting boundaries. Techniques on how to be an active bystander and a good ally, how to support a survivor of assault, and verbal de-escalation skills were also discussed. In what Swartz called “Badass Ballet,” the basics of self-defense were covered with much enthusiasm.

Throughout the seminar, Swartz presented a professional yet light-hearted atmosphere where the audience was fully involved in the teachings and techniques being taught. Afterward, Swartz introduced a self-defense training course called Impact, hosted by Kirkland Productions, which seeks to empower people about personal safety and self-defense even further. To wrap up the production, students were asked to join a group picture where they displayed their defense positions and smiled for the camera to conclude a successful evening.

Post Contributor: Emma Costa

Take Back the Night: Thank You

Post Contributor: Erika Sanchez
On behalf of the Women’s Center, we thank everyone for their assistance and participation in Take Back the Night. The event provided a safe environment where students could feel comfortable in speaking up about their experiences, witness the many people on campus who support them, and learn about the various resources that are available. With persistent focus, leadership, and action, we united to help give voice to victims and bystanders of violence. However, the conversation does not end there. Together we must continue our eorts in ending sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and stalking within our communities. We look forward to seeing you next semester and hope you will join us again next year as we take back the night!

If you, or someone you know, have experienced sexual assault, stalking, or other forms of interpersonal violence such as dating and domestic violence, we encourage you to seek out supportive services. Eastern has a Sexual Assault & Interpersonal Violence Response Team (SAIV-RT) available to give guidance, support, and information. If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to visit www.easternct.edu/saiv or speak with the Coordinator of the SAIV-RT, Starsheemar Byrum at byrums@easternct.edu or (860) 465-4314.

Take Back the Night: A Reflection

Post Contributor: Ami Jallow
Personally, Take Back the Night was one of my favorite events of this semester. It was an event that allowed us to be open and vulnerable to complete strangers. It was very inspirational how we were all able to connect because we had either gone through, or knew someone that had gone through, some kind of abuse. I appreciated this event because it allowed a very different outlet for me to share my personal experiences. Take Back the Night reminded me why I wanted to work and be associated with the Women’s Center in the first place. We are here to provide a safe space, a haven on campus, for anyone from all walks of life to be comfortable enough to share their past, present and futures. I, personally, want to thank everyone that attended. It takes a lot to confide in people we have never met before. I want to thank you all for giving me an opportunity to heal further. God bless.

If you, or someone you know, have experienced sexual assault, stalking, or other forms of interpersonal violence such as dating and domestic violence, we encourage you to seek out supportive services. Eastern has a Sexual Assault & Interpersonal Violence Response Team (SAIV-RT) available to give guidance, support, and information. If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to visit www.easternct.edu/saiv or speak with the Coordinator of the SAIV-RT, Starsheemar Byrum at byrums@easternct.edu or (860) 465-4314.

The Price of Brotherhood

Post Contributor: Thomas Madden
On Monday April 13, 2015 at 3pm the Women’s Center hosted an event held in the Student Center Theater called “The Price of Brotherhood.” The guest speaker of this event was Duane de Four. Duane spoke very openly about many issues that mold the mentality of young boys growing into men. Though he spoke about masculinity, he also touched on how women are being portrayed in movies and video games.

What I found interesting from this event was how he showed the audience different commercials and let the audience ponder their meaning. He deciphered and broke down the deeper meanings of the commercials. Afterwards, he pulled up the difference between men’s magazines and women’s magazines. As an example, he used “King Magazine,” which had half-naked women on the cover. It is troubling that this type of magazine can be bought in the checkout line at the grocery store. Duane delved deeper into the magazine, pulling lines from articles and juxtaposing them with statements and quotes from rapists. With crowd participation, every one raised their hands to poll who could tell the difference between the men’s magazine and rapist quotes. It was shocking for me to see just how many the crowd guessed wrong.

Members from M.A.L.E.S attended this event and really enjoyed this powerful lecture. I believe that many students walked away with uplifting messages: try not to care about your “man-card” being revoked, stand up when you see something wrong, and make a positive change in the world. There are so many different undercover references that mold young minds into being something they don’t want to be. Whether it is through social media marketing, television and movies, or even family and friends, it is important to recognize the stereotypes that men face and continue dialog on combating these harmful male idealizations.

Path to Etiquette

Post Contributor: Chad-Michael Muirhead
On March 26th, the Women’s Center and Center for Internships and Career Development hosted an etiquette dinner for students from the Path Academy institution. The objective of the event was to introduce etiquette dining principles to students in the Willimantic community. The event allowed students to interact with Student Ambassadors from the Women’s Center, and discuss college life on campus.

The event began with an introduction from Starsheemar Byrum, Director of the Women’s Center. Student Ambassadors Amber Domond and Yamma Jatta were present and active in the program, talking to attendees. They shared ideas and information about the Women’s Center resources and events. Students were given the opportunity to experience professional style dining services and develop bonds with other students from the campus. Attendees enjoyed a great dinner by Chartwells, set in a spectacular and refined scene.