April 19 community panel to focus on sexual violence


A Community panel, “Sexual Violence and Feminism” hosted by the Clarina Howard Nichols Center is scheduled for Thursday, April 19, from 7-8:00 p.m. at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort in Stowe.

The panel will focus on sexual violence – including its prevalence and resources available to deal with it. The event will provide a place where the panelists can bring their own concerns, and experience, providing resources and available support.

A major benefit of the panel will be educating students about sexual violence on college campuses. “There is a huge amount of sexual violence that occurs on college campuses,” said Clarina Howard Nichols Center Community Coordinator Karen Nichols. “They [students] have a lot of misconceptions about it that are based on the media, television, sometimes their education system, a lot of myths about sexual violence…it would be a great opportunity to have them here. [There will be] people who are very well educated and experienced and certain facets of the community will talk about the topic.”

The panelists include Cynthia Hennard, director of Counseling Center Services at Johnson State College; Maria Archangelo, publisher of the Stowe Reporter; Auburn Watersong, economic justice specialist; Miss Vermont 2012, Jamie Dragon; and Maria Texiera, shelter advocate at Clarina Howard Nichols Center.

Each panelist brings different expertise to the subject of sexual violence and feminism, advocating for the shelter and providing information about services available.

Hennard was happy to be asked on the panel. “I hope I would be able to bring an experience from my own angle to be able to support the conversation,” she said. “My own background and interest is trying to support our prevention efforts on campus and also most often unfortunately being on the treatment end of post sexual assault and healing after they have experienced sexual assault.”

One panel question Hennard will answer concerns the idea of feminism. She will explain how feminism has remained alive on college campuses even if young people today do not associate with it.

Another question of interest to JSC students that Hennard will answer involves her belief in why there is such a prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses.

Helping organize events that reach students on campus, Hennard believes JSC is taking a much more proactive stance around prevention with first-year students and also with bystander training and getting men to speak up about cultural norms. Men can do a lot to neutralize those stereotypes according to Hennard.

The panel is part of a series of month-long events in recognition of Sexual Violence Awareness Month.