The Third Annual Global Women’s Leadership Conference, held March 27 and 28 in Blum, focused on ending violence against women.
Saturday started bright and early with registration in the Blum lobby at 8 a.m. A light breakfast was served in Spratt 214 and the first speaker of the day was Jean Brown, who spoke for the Young Women Club of America.
“Violence affects every aspect of women’s life,” Brown said. Brown wanted the students and other women to understand that the violence is not a one-time thing that a person will just forget about. If it happens once it will most likely happen again.
The second speaker was Linda Petitt, also for the YWCA. Petitt gave a presentation about what violence is, stressing that violence equals power and control.
Linda Petitt informed the group that domestic violence is a purposeful act. When it happens there is a reason and the attacker knows what they are doing. Domestic violence will continue if there is nothing done to stop it.
She explained the types of abuse in adult relationships, such as physical abuse, isolation, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, using children threats, using male privilege and intimidation. All of these are signs the attacker is trying to show his or her power and control.
The types of abuse in dating relationships are possessiveness, minimization and blame, intimidation sexual abuse, physical abuse, threats, domination and humiliation. These are when teens are dating and they end up showing these because they think it is cool.
A speaker named Mei Zhang gave a speech about women’s status abroad. Zhang spoke about the cultural difference between women in America and women in other countries.
Pam Clary, the social work director at Western, offered insight on this topic.
“Look to see how your partner is treating their family,” Clary said. The way a person treats their parents is the way they will end up treating their spouse and family.
“The partner has low self esteem most generally when they are abusive,” Clary said. They are not feeling good about themselves, so they like to push their bad mood on to others. When working with an abusive partner, a person should try to get help no matter who it is from.
Counselor for the YWCA, Shirley Twombly, was the last speaker for the second breakout session. She talked about positive life skills.
Western Senior Ivory Duncan spoke during the second breakout session. She gave a presentation entitled, “There is Nothing Greater than a Young Ambitious Woman.” Duncan talked about success and the goals to become successful.
The simulation was called: “In Her Shoes: Living with Domestic Violence.” The group was broken up in to small groups of three and each group took on a different character. Some pretended to be victims of domestic violence, some died, some lived with the violence and a few were able to get away from the harm that was happening.
After each person played the role of witness, shadow and victim, the large group came back together to discuss how they thought it was not right the way in which a person keeps going back or how it was hard for them to leave the person abusing them.
The conference was cut short due to weather, but many of the women felt like they will not fall victim to the brutal relationships that happen. The audience can also now look out not only for themselves, but also for their friends and family.