It was an incredible experience, meeting anti-rape activists from around the country. There were some big names present, including Rosario Dawson, Byron Hurt, US Dept of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, and Congresswoman Donna Edwards.
One of my favorite parts included Ben Atherton-Zeman's performance, which was funny and moving. I was shocked to learn that 1 in 6 men in college are sexually assaulted. I am sorry that as an activist in the field, the high rate of victimization among men surprised me. Most of us had tears in our eyes, listening to the real-life account of one such male, sexually assaulted repeatedly by his friend - a teenage GIRL! Although men perpetrate the majority, about 90% of sexual violence, we need to remember, there are women perpetrators as well.
I had amazing co-presenters, including Connie Kirkland, Director, Sexual Assault Services, George Mason University, who founded the 3rd rape crisis center in the country; and Jen Luettel Schweer, M.A., LPC, Sexual Assault and Health Issues Coordinator, Georgetown University. Joseph Vess, Men Can Stop Rape's Director of Training & Technical Assistance, moderated the panel.
I was humbled when some of the attendees of the panel told us it was their favorite panel. It was lively, with interesting questions raised, and lessons learned from the panelists and the attendees.
I have to thank Joseph Vess of MCSR, who invited me to attend, and covered the costs associated with traveling. Without Joe's help, I would not be able to attend. Some of you might remember meeting him in April 2007, when he and a colleague came to Hunter at our invitation, to present a workshop. Here is an article:
Although I will graduate in June, I plan to stay connected to MCSR, and hope you do the same. MCSR is a progressive and influential organization that is a strong ally in our fight against intimate-partner violence.
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force
Hunter Women’s Rights Coalition (HWRC)