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Women speak out at #MeToo event

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Sophomore educational studies major and #MeToo event co-coordinator Sofia Borbon shared her personal experience with harassment and assault at the March 8 event in Sneaky Parks. She was among four participants to share such personal stories. / photo by Dorothy Garstman

Sophomore educational studies major and #MeToo event co-coordinator Sofia Borbon shared her personal experience with harassment and assault at the March 8 event in Sneaky Parks. She was among four participants to share such personal stories. / photo by Dorothy Gartsman

Remy Hogan
Staff Writer

University of La Verne students and faculty gathered for a #MeToo event in support of sexual harassment and assault survivors on March 8 in Sneaky Park.

The #MeToo event, hosted by Misty Levingston and the Womyn’s Herstory committee at the University of La Verne, aimed to give women a platform from which they can share their experiences with sexual harassment and assault.

“I figured it was time for us to tell our stories and speak our truths,” Levingston, assistant director of multicultural affairs, said.

The #MeToo event is just one of the many events included in Womyn’s Herstory on campus in honor of Women’s History Month. Womyn’s Herstory is a program that will be running on campus throughout the month of March that aims to celebrate women.

Departments like the Center for Multicultural Services, the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, Housing and Residential Life, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity and the Office of Civic Engagement as well as clubs such as the Multicultural Club Council, the Black Student Union, Common Ground, Tree of Life Youth Mentoring, First Generation Student Success Program and Shades of Essence have come together to collaborate on Womyn’s Herstory.

“We spelled it ‘womyn’ because we’re taking the patriarchy out of it. We’re owning the word without the derivative of a man,” Levingston said.

The #MeToo event opened with an introduction from Levingston and her co-host Sofia Bourbon, a student representative from the Center for Multicultural Services.

Megan Jackson, Title IX coordinator, and Dorie Richards, assistant director of Counseling and Psychological Services, also provided some information about resources and who to reach out to in order to take the next step after an experience with harassment or assault.

“Our goal is to connect you with your best resources, so please feel free to take full advantage of them,” Jackson said.

Under Title IX, students have the right to choose with whom they will speak, what resources they will use, and when to come forward.

Some of the resources available to students are the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Student Health Center, the La Verne Police Department, Project Sister Family Services, House of Ruth, the Pomona Valley Hospital and CAPS, which is a free and confidential service for undergraduate students.

“I am here tonight as a woman first and then as the assistant director of CAPS. Sometimes events like this can bring trauma to the forefront but we want you to know that we are here for you,” Richards said.

Both Levingston and Bourbon shared their own personal experiences with harassment and assault, and then members of the audience were invited to share their stories if they were comfortable.

Female students participated by recounting their experiences and emphasizing why events such as #MeToo are important for women.

“Even if you just tell one person, it’s very therapeutic,” sophomore kinesiology major Kristina Flores said.

“It’s important when these events happen for students to be there because you don’t know how it’s going to frame you, you don’t know how it’s going to shape you, and you don’t know how this situation may help you help someone else,” said Melissa Moss, executive assistant to the vice provost and chief diversity officer.

Remy Hogan can be reached at remy.hogan@laverne.edu.

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