SFU event discusses activism with focus on women, safety

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Blue Stockings Society hosted an event on Tuesday, Feb. 20, that focused on advocacy for women in relation to the college lifestyle. Argentina Bonilla, senior women’s studies and sociology major, and Lynne Banks, Associate Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator, presented on ways in which students can advocate and speak up for women.

Banks explained the definition of Title IX and how it’s being implemented at Saint Francis University. According to the definition by U.S. Department of Justice, Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in any educational institution or activity that is receiving federal funding. Banks stated that every school that receives federal dollars has to enforce Title IX laws and hire a Title IX coordinator.

Banks also presented on how SFU has many procedures and policies set in place that helps students who experience sexual violence on campus. For instance, she emphasizes many rights a student has when dealing with a sexual trauma that happened on campus.

According to Banks, a student has the right not to report the assault, to decide whom he or she wants to tell about the assault, to have someone accompany him or her, to have a written notice of all charges, and to tell his or her side of the story.

Bonilla’s presentation informed students on how to have a discussion when an individual is telling his or her story. Body language, for example, is a crucial factor in having a conversation about sexual violence. If a survivor of sexual assault is telling a student his or her story and notices the student’s discomfort, the survivor might feel as though his or her story or feelings are invalid.

When it comes to everyday conversation, it is best to stray away from any misogynistic, transphobic and homophobic phrases such as “that’s so gay” or “I totally raped that test.” Bonilla stated that these phrases are extremely harmful for individuals who belong in the groups that these phrases are targeting.

Toward the end of the event, Bonilla discussed the impact sexual assault has on people of color and transgendered individuals. These two groups face social barriers such as discrimination, fear of deportation, stereotypes and other obstacles, which are “pillars in these communities,” Bonilla said.

“I thought it was a really nice program,” said freshman nursing major Jasmine Taylor. “It let me know a lot more information about Title IX that I didn’t know.”

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