GVSU hosts panel on violence against women

By Sarah Hollis | 10/25/17 9:59pm

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GVL / Emily Frye The Red Shoes Project art installation by Mexican Artist Elina Chauvet on Saturday October 21, 2017.

Given that domestic violence, sexual assault and gender equity continue to be prevalent issues throughout the U.S. and across the globe, Grand Valley State University gave several speakers the opportunity to address these issues Monday, Oct. 23, as part of a panel on violence against women.

The panel, which took place in the DeVos Center Loosemore Auditorium on the Pew Campus, was presented by Anna Campbell, an associate professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at GVSU. The panel was composed of six experts in different areas of violence against women, including psychological, emotional and physical abuse. 

More specifically, the panel discussed the importance of acknowledging that this violence happens, as well as the importance of working to prevent this violence. 

“We need to talk about all types of violence in our society,” said Zulema Moret, a Spanish professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at GVSU and organizer of the panel. “People who come to the panel will know about different approaches to the scene of violence: violence at home, violence in trafficking and services for those who are suffering violence.”

After Campbell introduced each panelist, they had the opportunity to speak on the issues that fell under their expertise, as well as any services that they (or those affiliated with them) provide for women who have been victims of violence. 

The panel also discussed the importance of the equity and empowerment of women in key aspects of life, such as politics and the workforce, and how to further prevention and support efforts for women when they are faced with various barriers. 

Elina Chauvet, the artist responsible for the art installation that inspired the event, was also a featured speaker. Her installation, "Zapatos Rojos" or "Red Shoes," drew attention to the subject of violence against women. 

Many GVSU students and community members braved the rainy weather to attend the panel.

Aly Phillips, a senior at GVSU studying studio art and minoring in English and sociology, was in attendance. 

“I always feel very driven to go to any event that focuses on violence against women and to carry those conversations,” she said. “It’s work that I feel obligated to do as a woman who has that accessibility, privilege and opportunity. The reason it’s so integral to have conversations about violence against women, sexual assault, dating violence and gender-based violence is that it happens everywhere, even if you feel like it doesn’t happen in your own communities. 

"And the only way to get any work done on ending those is to start breaking the stigma and break that silence and share stories and then work on the educational aspect of ‘how does violence occur?’ and work as a community to later end that.”

The panel was followed with a reception where audience members could further discuss the issues of violence against women. 

Those interested in learning more about the Zapatos Rojos art installation can visit http://gvsu.edu/s/0yB

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