HeforShe Holds Awareness Week


Ellis Chen

Joseph Bennett '20 and Samuel Myers-Verhage '20 listen as Howell discusses prevention strategies.

Sitting in front of students in the Little Theater, Cody Howell, a violence prevention specialist from the Women’s Resource and Action Center, began to talk about sexual violence prevention as students listened attentively.

“He had a very positive impact on me. This is because many people, such as myself, support gender equality, it’s just many of us do not know what to do to achieve that goal,” Samuel Myers-Verhage ‘20 said. “His presentation informed us about the movement and how we can help, which is a very positive thing.”

On May 4, Howell spoke about the role of language in gender equality movements, methods that students could use to prevent language that made them uncomfortable, and how those methods can prevent violence.

“It’s really important that men start to take up some of the space [in the movement for gender equality] while respecting the women who have done this for so long, but men need to be at the forefront of calling out their friends, speaking out against these issues because across the board, men are oftentimes perpetrators of sexual violence and dating violence,” Howell said. “However, that doesn’t mean that all men are going to be sexually violent or perpetrate violence but they are at the forefront of calling out their friends and creating a positive change where they can. So it’s important that they have the skills and they feel empowered to do so because that’s how we create safety in our community, it’s by giving them the tools to call out their friends, to create safety, and that’s so important for the world that we want to live in.”

Around twenty students came to the Little Theater to listen to Howell.

“I learned that to fight gender inequality, the best place to start is language. To let people know around what language is right or wrong to use,” Myers-Verhage said. “An example is to tell a person who you heard say a misogynistic word to stop saying it. It’s a simple yet effective action that men can take to make the world a more equal place.”

Club leaders Mya Kahle ‘20 and Yardley Whaylen ‘20 arranged for the awareness week by contacting speakers and putting up posters about topics related to gender equality. They also sold buttons and t-shirts to raise money for various organizations.

I have already heard feedback from a few people who went to the speaker as to how they have addressed situations in which they felt uncomfortable with the language used to them and how they used what they learned to create a safe space for themselves,” Whaylen said.