Remarkable Discussion on Gender-Based Violence

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Girl Up Club

Girl Up has joined in the discussion of important issues facing women around the globe.

Anna Hoffmann , Writer

Discourse, acknowledgments, and bouts of bargaining over statistics and experiences regarding violence against women circulate throughout our society quite frequently. These conversations seem to be impelled by recurring global tragedies, harshly reminding us of the prevalence of sexism and misogyny in our society. On the evening of March 3, 2021, Sarah Everard disappeared in South London, walking home from a friend’s house. It was later discovered Sarah was kidnapped and murdered. 

A mourning period later occurred. Heaps of lilies, chrysanthemums, and carnations along with flickering tea lights could be distinguished from the darkness out of any London window. Coupled with this mourning, an outpouring of anger and solidarity was recognized. Chants of “shame on you” and “how many more” and signs reading “end violence against women” and “she was only walking home” encouraged a rally against gender violence in Britain. This is just one example of a catastrophe, bringing about general fear and anger among women throughout the world and encouraging discussion.  

A similar discussion recently occurred for two teen advisors of Girl Up Globally, bringing about an authentic, vulnerable discussion on gender-based violence and other injustices misogyny affected people experience. Angelina Silva-Perez and Vagmi Kantheti were doing a radio show interview; they were asked about something they would like to discuss that is not spoken about enough, and they brought up gender-based violence. This prompted a discussion between Vagmi and Angelina about violence against women and the misogyny and sexism women face. With recent worldwide discussion about these topics, they were compelled to host an event where people could share their thoughts and experiences in a safe space. 

On Thursday, March twenty-fifth, over a zoom meeting, a plethora of people was able to engage in an open conversation about how they have experienced sexism and misogyny. Girl Up teen advisors from California, New York, The British Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C. were also present. Many Franklin High School students and teachers were in attendance. This was quite a remarkable dialogue. When personal, sensitive topics and experiences are being shared among people who are merely acquaintances or may not even know one another, especially over a zoom meeting, uneasiness is expected to hover over the conversation.

“It was so nice to be in a space where you felt like the other people there would listen and care about you no matter what” a participant of the event commented.

 The organizers of this event believe a key part of this safe environment created is allowing people who have had direct experiences with sexual assault and harassment to lead the conversation. The organizers also stress the importance of validating victims. A participant of the event said, “When someone would speak, everyone would show their support in the chat, and I think it was just really comforting to know that people wanted to hear what you have to say.”  Mental health resources were available in the chat and a trauma technician was also present. 

One participant of the event vocalized that these conversations should not have to happen. It is disheartening that misogyny-affected people have to create a safe space to share their experiences out of misplaced shame and a fear of not being believed. Ideally, one day, we will not have to have these conversations. 

“In order to be successful in the gender equality movement, we have to be having these conversations. Women’s voices cannot be silenced. I think what’s really special about this event is that our voices were amplified”, shared Angelina. 

This conversation was so successful, a second one was held on Wednesday, April seventh and many more are expected to take place in the future. One that is currently planned is a conversation on Asian American hate crimes. This will take place on April twenty-eighth. In the meantime, you can join Franklin High Schools Girl Up Club, Mondays after school at 2:15.