Friday, July 22, 2016

Becoming a Positive Bystander

Hey everyone! This is the replacement for July 6th's blog, which was somehow deleted from the bog.

The day’s first portion of class would be a serious one. Guest speakers Alana Sacks and Molly Sandstrom led a presentation about interpersonal violence, and how to best support those who have experienced it (being a positive bystander). First, we were introduced to the way in which power dynamics and identities were reflected in interpersonal violence, which includes relational abuse, domestic abuse, stalking, sexual assault/harassment, and gender-motivated violence. Our speakers presented us with statistics that demonstrated that men are the biggest perpetrators of this behavior, but that also, unfortunately, failed to acknowledge the presence of other genders or specify if they were referring to cisgender men. Then, we were exposed to the ways in which we can support survivors and victims of sexual assault/harassment: when someone shares their experience(s) with you, do not offer advice; analyze the situation in which someone is being victimized (rape jokes, verbal harassment, physical assault, etc.) and consider the options available to you for help. Above all, we were to ensure our own safety before assuming the role of a positive bystander. 

During the second portion of class, we wrote down our thoughts in response to questions that asked us how to be a positive bystander, how men can be positive bystanders, and how to overcome the gender bias. We also discussed and bounced ideas off of each other. It was wonderful to feel everyone else consider these questions proactively alongside me.

The workshop that I was assigned to attend with Sachi, my dear classmate and friend, was about college success. It took us quite a while to find the place in which it was being held: the building was one we had, up until then, been entirely unfamiliar with. We made it eventually, though, and discussed how we would define success and why caring about success in different areas of one’s life is important.

The rest of the evening and night was devoted to finalizing my Action Plan, as the due date was fast approaching. I felt so immersed in the topic I chose that, next thing I knew, it was Thursday. 

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