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      Moment to Movement

      Widener Students Participate in WHYY’s Discussion on the #MeToo Movement

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      #MeToo Movement

      Fifteen students and five faculty members from Widener attended a March 28 discussion on the #MeToo movement at WHYY’s studio in Philadelphia.

      In recent months, women have felt empowered to share personal stories of sexual harassment and assault to show the scale of the problem. But, some have wondered how the #MeToo wave can shift from a moment on social media to a movement based on lasting change.

      That was the topic of an event hosted by public radio station WHYY on March 28. Fifteen Widener students and five faculty members – Beatriz Urraca, Diana Vecchio, Shana Maier, Angie Corbo and Loyd Bastin – participated in the workshop and panel discussion in Philadelphia.

      "This was an amazing learning opportunity for students, because they got to hear directly from survivors and from people who work with survivors of sexual harassment and assault," said Urraca, professor of Spanish and chair of gender, women, and sexuality studies. "What was especially moving about this event were the impassioned pleas for educating young boys and men about respecting women, and not giving them mixed messages about masculinity. This is not only a women's issue."

      Kelsey Powell, a senior psychology and gender, women and sexuality studies dual major, said the #MeToo movement and recent event tied into what she has been studying for the last four years at Widener.

      "It is cool that our school, Widener, wants to be involved in this dialogue and be part of continuing the conversation," Powell said.

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      Continuing Conversations

      Widener students talk to a panelist at WHYY's event about the #MeToo movement on March 28.

      Sophia Hastings, a senior social work and gender, women and sexuality studies dual major, agreed. The March 28 discussion was particularly interesting to her because she is conducting an independent study on violence against women and the proliferation of the #MeToo movement. She is currently conducting a literature review with guidance from Maier, a criminal justice professor.

      "Learning about how the #MeToo movement has become global has been really interesting," Hastings said. "It's good to see how people from different countries are adapting to increased media attention and activism."

      The diverse panel, which included a reporter, sexual awareness educator, human rights advocate and others, was hosted by WHYY's Marty Moss-Coane of Radio Times and Maiken Scott of The Pulse. The event also included a segment with a human resources specialist who highlighted realistic scenarios of workplace harassment. Her message was to always report harassment.

      Yet, some of the panelists acknowledged that reporting is not always easy to do, especially when women can face repercussions for speaking out. The topic led to conversation afterward from Hastings, Powell, and other Widener faculty and students.

      "It prompted a discussion because [reporting] is easy in an idealized world, but that is not the world we live in right now," Hastings said. "I genuinely hope that there is a shift, and I think definitely in some parts of society there has been a shift, making it easier to come forward. But we still have a long way to go."

      Both Hastings and Powell were grateful to the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies Program for sponsoring the trip.

      "I feel like these conversations need to happen, especially now that we are hearing less and less about the #MeToo movement," Hastings said. "Events like this help continue the conversation."


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