One Billion Rising events had hundreds of people on campus and in the town of New Paltz dancing for a cause. However, as community organizer Mary Goggin said in her V-Day speech, the work is just beginning when the dancing stops.
Goggin pointed out a number of things that people can do to continue fighting violence against women and girls.
“Eve Ensler asked everyone to take a pledge that they would do at least one thing this year to help end the violence against women and girls,” she said.
According to Goggin, this pledge can be brought to fruition in a number of ways.
- Educating ourselves about the the culture that perpetuates these negative attitudes:
“We need to ask ourselves why we as a culture blame and question the victim rather than focusing on the aggressor. This, in essence, gives excuses to the rapist and changing this is the first step to changing the rape culture,” Goggin said.
- Stand up and speak out when you see and hear harassment:
“It includes when we hear people make comments or jokes that really ridicule and put women down,” Goggin said. “Rape and body image jokes, too; we need to teach ourselves and our children to speak up.”
- Talk to kids about what it means to have compassion and respect:
Goggin encouraged adults to educate kids about sex and what consensual, caring and kind sex is.
- Equal Rights Amendment?
“We also need to question and ask why we do not have an equal rights amendment in place,” Goggin said. “We are one of the few countries without a constitutional amendment to protect women.”
- Support local shelters:
“Violence against women is alive right here in our community,”Goggin said. “Shelters are full and they need help. Don’t fool yourselves into believing that these atrocities only happen in far away countries because it’s happening right here in New Paltz.”
Fundraising is an excellent way to show support and raise awareness, but shelters need more than just money. A unique way of contributing is “birthday in a bucket”; volunteers fill bins with presents for children who are celebrating their birthdays away from home. Other helpful contributions include diapers and clothing.
- Those interested in learning more should attend the SUNY New Paltz International Women’s Day event on Thursday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 100. For more information visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/481790791878395/?fref=ts
Less than a week after the One Billion Rising flash mobs, Goggin is already planning more fun, creative and joyous activities to help raise awareness. She hopes to organize with local women who do yoga, massage therapy and other restorative activities and bring a healing touch to shelters.
“Not only for the women living there but for those working there as well, it’s a very difficult job,” Goggin said.