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Gender equality group discusses domestic violence in communities of color

Dr. Ariana Vigil led the discussion on domestic violence in communities of color for Feminist Friday.
Dr. Ariana Vigil led the discussion on domestic violence in communities of color for Feminist Friday.

Rachel Allen, co-chairperson of CAGE, helped organize the event.

“Basically we’re just trying to raise awareness and educate people about the intersections of race and gender oppressions,” Allen said.

The topic of relationship violence is especially relevant because October is domestic violence awareness month.

“I think it’s important to talk about what a healthy relationship is and also talk about how the prevalence of abusive relationships is supported by institutions like race and gender,” Allen said.

Ariana Vigil, assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and the speaker at Friday’s event, said the event brings awareness to the specific issue.

“Something like domestic violence awareness month is meant to bring awareness to a particular issue and allow people to explore that one issue and just like focus in on it and understand how it intersects with other issues,” Vigil said.

The event covered topics including the health care field, reasons that prevent victims of domestic violence from leaving, historical analysis of domestic violence, how domestic violence plays into current events and tips for dealing with a survivor.

Another part of the event was small group discussions about the article Mapping the Margins, which explores the intersection of race and gender, by University of California-Los Angeles law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw.

“They’re integral,” Vigil said. “Everybody is marked by a gender identity and a racial identity and ethnic identity and intersectionality says that you experience all of these things at once.”

Vigil said the event is part of a larger conversation about domestic violence.

“I think the national conversation particularly on campus sexual assault has increased, and that’s because of student-led activism that was holding universities accountable for not meeting the needs of survivors,” Vigil said.

Sophomore Elaine King said she participated in the event because it was relevant to both her majors: public health and women’s studies.

“The message is important to me because it considers the intersectional part of women’s studies that is sometimes unacknowledged by people who are unfamiliar with feminism,” she said.

First-year Angum Check joined the conversation by attending this month’s Feminist Friday.

“I just feel like there’s not one straight way or approach to a feminist ideology,” Check said. “Different people with different backgrounds and experiences are going to have different ideas of what feminism is and what it represents to them.”

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