Friday, November 21, 2014

Live-Blogging the UOG Sexual Harassment Forum

I nobia-hu Isa ha ayuda mama'tinas Forum gi UOG gi painge put "sexual harassment." Gof impottante este na asunto, lao ti meggai umadmimite este. Ti meggai tumungo' put este na asunto. Guaha famalao'an yan lalahi lokkue', mansinexual harassed, lao ti ma tungo' na ayu hafa masusedi. Hinasson-niha na ossitan ha' pat linachi ha', ya taya' sina u macho'gue put este. Maolek na ha hatsasayi hit este na babao gi UOG.

Gi fino' Audre Lorde, ti prinitehi yu' ni taisangan-hu. Siempre ti prinitehi hao lokkue'.

Estague iyo-na Live Blog ginen i Forum gi painge.

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5:50 – Excited to see Mary Camacho Torres, senator-elect, and Prof. Ron McNinch in the audience.  Approximately fifty to sixty students are currently present.

6:07 – Dr. KB begins speaking.  “Sexual harassment at the University of Guam.”  Intersectionality.  Privilege, domination, and oppression.  —Imbalance of power relations regarding gender, class status, wealth, education, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, political status, etc. —Example: older, white, male, wealthier professor & younger, Pacific/Asian, female, less wealthy student. —Example: older, male, wealthier, heterosexual professor & younger, male, less wealthy, homosexual student.  Not politically neutral situations.

Social identity is experienced on multiple levels including ethnicity, cultural background, sex, gender, age, level of education, socioeconomic status (wealth) sexual orientation, etc.  Feminist studies brings to the foreground subjectivity, the individual identity. The historic academic pretense or façade of objectivity usually meant power was understood normatively as white and male. Look at the demographics at UOG. It’s not an accident that so many professors are white expatriates from the U.S. or European areas and/or male. This is not an attack on individuals, but a social system of oppression. It’s important to acknowledge historical and present-day realities.  Power relations matter. These are categories used to oppress many people and give power to a select few. It’s normative, it’s unquestioned, and it’s unethical.

What is sexual harassment?  Primarily an issue of respetu. Respect. Meaning, is this happening in a context where the people involved are able and willing to consent? Are you inside of a community that really do equally understand and appreciate certain jokes or behaviors? Is anyone incapacitated, for example by alcohol? Is one person in a position of much more social power than the others in the situation (like a professor in a classroom)? In such cases, it is important to be respectful and thoughtful of all involved. Consent. Respect.

Legal definitions: Unwelcome sexual or flirtatious jokes, comments, gestures. —Being called gay, lesbian, etc., in a negative way. —Being shown unwanted sexy or sexual images (including in texts and apps). —Unwelcome sexual touches. Being pressured or forced to do something sexual or physically intimate (kiss, touching, intercourse, etc.).

Other forms of violence: Dating violence and intimate partner (domestic) violence (physical, emotional, verbal, etc.). —Stalking. —Rape or sexual assault. —Attempted rape or sexual assault. —Preliminary events – coercive, intimidating, creepy, inappropriate behaviors and situations. —“Grooming” (sexual predation).

People living in a social context are well aware of social norms. Harassers know what they are doing.
People have told me “That’s just how things are” or “that’s just how men are” or “men have their needs.” Well, I personally do not believe all men are inherently evil.  I believe we can change the world.  I am glad that great social reformers of history like Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr., did not believe “That’s just how things are.” I am glad they worked to make the world better and safer.
Legal definitions:  Lack of consent — a joke, a touch, a comment, an invitation, a sex act — unwelcome, unwanted, inappropriate, nonconsensual.  —Gathering concrete evidence: email, witnesses, written or recorded messages, keeping dated records for self, or a log.  —Not legally required, but helpful.  —UOG will not refuse to address a report simply because there is no concrete evidence.

—UOG is not above the law – Title IX / Clery Act / 2013 Campus SaVE Act.  Sexual harassment is a federal offense. Existing protections for whistleblowers or reporters: —Confidentiality; protection against retaliation; legal or court recourses such as orders of protection, no-contact orders, restraining orders, etc.  So you technically are supposed to have some protections under the law, but, in reality, confidentiality can be broken, and a person can choose to ignore a restraining order.

Recommended resources:

—Women & Gender Studies – —Elizabeth Kelley Bowman, EC 213A, 735-2701
—Title IX Compliance Office – —Elaine Faculo-Gogue, 735-2244, uguam.uog.edu
> —Guam Police Department – 475-8551
—Public Defender’s Office – 475-3100
—Crime Victim’s Assistance Unit – 475-8620
—Healing Hearts Crisis Center – 647-5421
—Stop Violence Against Women – 475-9162

Discussing her survey — “95% of respondents agreed with the statement that professors sexually harass students at UOG. That was a much higher percentage than I was expecting and it is very troubling to hear that.  Second, I noticed that most of the students who stated on the survey that they had experienced an unwanted or nonconsensual sexual comment, image, touch, genital exposure, etc., from a professor, did not then identify themselves as having been sexually harassed in a later question (the second one listed on the slide).

“This indicates to me that students perhaps do not understand the legal definition of sexual harassment, which would call for more training and awareness, or that students do not want to think of themselves as having been injured or of their professors as having injured them.
“More education of students and more awareness workshops are called for.”

The 2011-2013 Campus Security Report (mandated under the Clery Act): This was sent to me via email on October 1, 2014. Emphasized “bystander intervention.”  Zero (0) reports of forcible or non-forcible sex offenses on campus, in UOG buildings off campus, on public property, etc.  No record of sexual harassment. —Zero (0) reports of motor vehicle theft — I mention the report on motor vehicle theft because I have been personally informed by the victims of at least two incidents of motor vehicle theft that happened during this time period. So the question is, why aren’t those in the Campus Security Report? and what else might the Report be missing?

We cannot put the onus or burden on an imagined bystander to solve the problem. Not always safe or feasible for a bystander to try to intervene. UOG leaders must recognize and take responsibility for these issues. The entire community must take responsibility.

—“Bystander intervention”: not a substitute for training, workshops, and support from authorities
—Lack of reports of crime =/= lack of crime.
—Lack of reports of crime = climate of fear and silence

—Students, faculty, and all community members must be empowered to voice and report concerns
—“The national statistics are that 60 to 80 percent [of rapes] go unreported” (Dr. Ellen Bez, Healing Hearts Crisis Center consultant).  So we are talking about a “tip of the iceberg” type of situation.
—Sexual harassment is usually an invisible or hyper visible crime. Hypervisible – focused on stereotypes or attacks — —example: women lie / students ruin professors’ lives.  Sexism (like racism, homophobia, etc.) is systematic and social, not individual and isolated.  A supportive community is crucial.  Publicity is crucial – finding your voice.

A word from Audre Lorde (important African-American lesbian activist and scholar):

“In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my own mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? To question or to speak as I believed would have meant pain, or death. But we all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change or end. Death, on the other hand, is the final silence. And that might be coming quickly, now, without regard for whether I had ever spoken what needed to be said, or only betrayed myself into small silences, while I planned someday to speak, or waited for someone else’s words. And I began to recognize a source of power within myself that comes from the knowledge that while it is most desirable not to be afraid, learning to put fear into a perspective gave me great strength.

“I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”

I call on the administration to comply with the Clery Act by providing ongoing workshops and training sessions to students and employees.

I ask you to take a few moments, if you are UOG students, to fill out the sexual harassment survey. Please, make a report to the university if you have a concern about any potential crime on campus.
And finally, please, sign our petition to the faculty senate, the board of regents, and the president of the university, asking them to use their authority to make UOG a better place for us all.

Saina ma’åse – thank you.

6:19 – Dr KB has finished speaking.  Approximately 150 students present.

Ms. Carina Fejerang is being introduced, co-founder / charter member of grassroots women’s organization RaWR!

RaWR! was launched after the Federation of Asian-Pacific Women’s Event a few years ago.  Variety of different women from all over Asia-Pacific region and U.S.  Women today are still trying to find a voice, they’re still struggling.  Statistic: 7/10 women have been sexually assaulted, victimized, or raped in their lifetimes.  400 women at a major conference – made her think of how many are being affected.  Yet, really, all ten are affected by this.  Not long after — a terrible abduction and rape on Guam at the Crown Bakery (fall 2012).

So many groups are working on these issues.  Yet missing was a grassroots group working on victims of sexism from the bottom.  Victims, 85% are women.  Perpetrators are overwhelmingly men.
RaWR’s goal: to be a voice for victims.  Victims were being re-victimized by the system – judicial, social, etc.  It’s bad enough to have to tell the story once, but year after year, waiting for a verdict — the victim starts to give up.

What is it in our society that’s not helping the victim?

Education plays a crucial part.  Reflect: what is going on in our community?  What can I do to make a difference?

Man Up Guam oath – men will own their participation in a just community.  Speak up if they see a crime.  Speak up in general.  We all know that men have a heavier hand than women.  Men’s bodies more powerful than women’s.

Find ways of going into the schools and creating education around these topics.  It starts with all of us.  Knowing what is right — what is wrong.

To be educated in respect and care for others.  Your body is a sanctuary.  Care for it.  Don’t let anybody harm you.  If you see someone harming someone else, speak up.

6:32 – Ms. Monique Baza is being introduced.  GW (1995) graduate, B.A., master’s in public education, teacher at GW.  Survivor of the 15 October 2012 Crown Bakery kidnapping and assault.
Ms. Baza is sharing her powerful personal story.  Tow hours and forty-five minutes.  Sexually assaulted twice.  Confined, restrained in her car.  How does a man know how to restrain a woman with her own passenger seat unless he’s done this before?

Strongly believes the Audre Lorde quote, “My silences had not protected me.  Your silence will not protect you.”

That is why Ms. Baza shares her story as much as she can.  Very hard to be able to come out in the media and to others.  Nothing was okay.  For Carina to stand up here and speak about revictimization — for Ms. Baza to have to tell her story over and over and experience it again and again, that was definitely re-victimization.  She should not have to be punished so much.

“I honestly felt as if I were the one who was being punished.”  No communication with the AG’s office.  Knew nothing except what media was publishing and reporting on.  It was on morning talk shows, on her way to work, and she felt like the butt of the joke.  She was not being informed.
So Ms. Baza started going to the court hearings.  Made a point to find out where this was going.  Had the burden of having to be so proactive in her own case.  Given 49 minutes notice of hearings, no respect for her work or family needs.

The AG office is not supportive of the victim or centered on the victim.  Feeling of being talked down to.

It was a long struggle.  There were three perpetrators (two also stole her ATM card and drained her account).  Last November 19, 2013, two were released, and one approached Ms. Baza’s brother at the store.  They know where Ms. Baza lives.  She tried to fight, she tried to get away.
No one warned Ms. Baza that the perpetrator was going to be released.

Yes, the victim does get so lost and drained and exhausted by it all.  A part of me feels like the AG’s office was trying to make that happen, to make her pull away.  They would make decisions without giving Ms. Baza any voice.

She asked for an apology letter, asked the prosecutor.  Refused to make it a condition of the plea agreement.  Ms. Baza was the wronged party.  She didn’t deserve to be treated like that.
“I want you to leave here thinking that change has to begin with you.”

It was the home invasion situation that made Ms. Baza decide to go public with her story and her voice.

“I do not stand up here ashamed.”  Perpetrators want you to be embarrassed and shamed and messed up, so you won’t report it.  So they can go on harming others.

The more we silence ourselves, the more we enable and empower perpetrators of crimes.

6:44 – Dr. Ronni Alexander is introduced.  Professor of international relations and peace studies at Kobe University in Japan.  She is wearing a 37-year-old shirt “Don’t Tread on Me – Alexander v. Yale” in 1976, the first sex-harassment lawsuit in the U.S. under Title IX.  Currently she is exploring the role of art in making a community of peace.  Also author of the Popoki children’s book series (highly recommended!).

“In a spirit of solidarity, I want you to know three things about myself: as a child, I was abused; (2) as a child, I was sexually abused by a close friend of my father’s; (3) it took a really long time and lots and lots of tears and anger, but in about 1999-2000 I came out as queer, as a a lesbian, to, among other things, a million readers of a Japanese newspaper.  That’s been a really good thing in my life.”
Was a flute player, wanted to be a music major.  Yale in those days, early 70s — my year was only the fourth to allow women.  Yale was a men’s school for a very long time.  About 40% of incoming class were women in Dr. Alexander’s year.  Some complaints — men said they used to be able to swim naked in the pool till women came in.  [lol]

Music majors required to take private lessons and to play in symphony or band.  Generally, flute players were a dime a dozen — unless you were really, really, really good (which Alexander wasn’t) you had to study with a graduate student.  Only three seats in symphony for flutes.  Alexander was in band.  Keith Ryan, new band director.  “I’ll never forget that name.”

He offered to be my teacher — it was very flattering.  Of course she said yes.  Incidentally, he had a son a year behind me.  Not a peer relationship.  Man was much older, more powerful.  Alexander was put off, but also flattered.  Didn’t know what to do when he began grooming her — told her she was talented, “checked” her breathing, locked the door, got friendly — then — he offered her a ride home and took her to a private apartment of his and raped her, then took her home after that.

“I didn’t even know the word ‘rape,’ or I didn’t know that it could be used in that situation in my life.”  “There’s got to be nobody in the world as stupid as me.”  “I was upset, I was embarrassed, thought it was my own fault.”

Yale offered no recourse or redress for such a situation.  Dean, professor would sit down with student — “No, thank you.”  It was about November.  Took a bus across Canada in the middle of winter — left school — couldn’t tell anyone.  Finally, sister encouraged her to return and try it.  Changed her major.  Professor stalked her.  All kinds of things happened.  Went on with life.  One day, met him on the street — he said, what are you trying to do to me, you’ve accused me of rape!  She said — all I’m trying to do is forget you.

Women’s organization at Yale contacted her.  They were collecting stories of women abused at Yale.  1976 — sexual harassment just beginning to be spoken of in the workplace, but not in education, certainly not at a place like Yale.  Yale was intransigent.  We couldn’t get them to respond to us in any other way.  Catherine McKinnon [well-known feminist and legal scholar] was at Yale in those days and she was kind of the brains behind this.  Argued and decided in 1980.  It was a Title IX lawsuit: claimed women did not have equal opportunities at Yale; Yale had no proper grievance procedure.
Judge said claims were not relevant because Yale could not redress their injuries as four plaintiffs had already graduated.  “An apology might have been nice. . . . Nobody apologized.  Keith Ryan remained happily employed at Yale.”  BUT – Yale did create a grievance procedure; widespread interest and similar lawsuits at other universities occurred (Yale is a very important institution in the U.S. and lawsuit was covered in national media).  “It was happening everywhere.  So we lost, but, in a way, we won.”

1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in college/university by faculty/staff and also by classmates.  Doesn’t include the men who are also assaulted — particularly LGBTQ people.  Universities continue to tolerate campus violence.

More services are available for survivors.  Legal requirement for transparency.  Grievance procedures must be in place.  “There’s supposed to be somewhere on the UOG website, assuming that those statistics were wrong, and there is at least one case of sexual harassment, it’s supposed to be there.   I looked for it.  Couldn’t find it.  You might be better at finding it than I am.”

We heard that people don’t report it.  It’s really tough to report it.  But, even when people do, universities engage in very complicated processes of trying to make believe it never happened.  Yale does it.  Kobe University does it.

Examples: Naomi Klein accused Yale professor Harold Bloom of rape.  Current case regarding professor at Yale Medical School.

Audre Lorde said it beautifully — we need to talk about it.  It’s really hard to talk about it, but if we don’t talk about sexual violence, nothing will change.  “Oh, don’t you look sexy today” — boss/professor — that comment is not okay.  Sexual violence is violence.  Not sex.  It’s disrespectful, it’s harmful, and it’s wrong.  Men, transgender people, gay people, are also being victimized by these acts of sexual violence.

We have to talk about it because if we do we may be able to stop it sooner.
http://www.knowyourix.org

“I have never played the flute since that day.  I did become a master of the Japanese flute [shakuhachi].  It took me about 15-20 years but I finally stopped hating myself for being so stupid, letting this happen to me.  I finally understood it wasn’t my fault.  I’m proud to say the experience, not only of sexual harassment, not only of rape, but also of the battle with myself to heal, has been really helpful in helping many others.”

Popoki Peace Project – age range 3-103 – books – a society with no violence – inclusive, respectful – where everyone can live to full potential – people and other creatures should be free and safe – filled with creativity and filled with love.  Sexual violence, abuse, harassment, all of that — in complete contradiction to peace.
:-) yay Popoki!

7:09 – Introduction of Q&A moderator Dr. Sharleen Santos-Bamba, humanities scholar, teacher training, community outreach.  Research encompasses Chamorro women’s roles; rhetoric and composition.

Dr. Santos-Bamba acknowledges the men in the audience who are here to make a difference for women in our society!  Yes!  Thank you to the wonderful men here!

Acknowledges the presence of Sen. Frank Aguon and Sen.-elect Torres.

Floor is opened to questions.  People can write down questions to be brought to Dr. Santos-Bamba,
Ms. Monique Baza is asked for advice on helping other women speak up — Answer: Whenever anything like this happens, at least get your feelings off your chest.  The feelings and emotions.  Cry, scream — that’s a big step for a survivor.  What’s going on in the family dynamic when she meets with people.  Unspoken sometimes — sometimes family is not communicating with the survivor.  Hard.  Don’t know if you’ll hurt the person.  Write it down — survivor, family, — to communicate — even just one word.

Dr. SSB – sexual assault/violence affects many people, not just the survivor.

Q for Dr. RA – systemic sexism — are gender roles learned, i.e., through media, ads, etc.? — A:  Yes.  They are learned everywhere.  They are learned sitting in this room, too.  Doesn’t mean we must cut ourselves off from media.  Means we must learn to be critical.  Learn to be a different kind of person.  Really hard.  But, it’s very important.

Dr. SSB – general question – presence of armed guards on campus — would that prevent these kinds of behavior?  – CF – no.  RA – in HS had armed guards – it brought solidarity among students – drug issues – all got together to beat up on armed guards — all it did was bring more violence.  Didn’t bring any kind of safety.

Another general question – if peace is not possible, does anyone on the panel condone self-defense?  CF: We do have to protect ourselves.  Monique Baza and CF have been trained in personal safety.
Q for all of the forum – Idea of rape has recently been humorized in today’s society.  What is the best way to de-humorize rape culture? — MB: teacher at GW HS, very common, challenge Torres and Aguon to walk the halls and listen to what is being said, the language being used.  It’s very disturbing.  “Rape” is a joke in common lexicon.  News broadcast of brawl at Tiyan HS, in halls today MB heard joke “we should go over to Tiyan High because they’re bashing chicks’ heads over there.”  RA: Yeah.  Yeah.  [agreeing with MB].  Story from Japan — homeless people — it’s common for HS students in Japan to harass and assault homeless people, set them on fire as a joke, etc.  Outreach in schools.  Very small effect, but an important change.  Working with the community, working with groups that are active.  EKB – remember that Guam is also “humorized” in national media.  Important to remember that violence happens on so many levels.  Agent Orange dumped by US gov’t on Guam = a man abusing and violating a woman’s body.

Q on respect in Chamorro culture and traditional gender roles.  CF: education, importance of respect, matrilineal culture.  Say “STOP” — “what you’re saying/doing is wrong.”  It takes someone to stand up.  Kudos to you if you took the time to stand up and say stop it.  You will start to see that you yourself have changed as well, and those around you.  SSB – violence against men and women happened in the past, but now with education we are hearing more about it.  Let us not pretend violence did not happen in islander culture.

Q to all – What signs identify women or men who have been sexually harassed or abused?  CF – someone who doesn’t want to be touched.  Shuts down suddenly.  Could be suicidal.  Guam ranks very high in suicides.  Starts to change normal, everyday behavior.  Very often with a survivor — they just want to be heard.  They just want to say what they want to say.  How they feel, how angry they are.

Q on attempted sexual harassment – is it a crime?  MB – absolutely – a violation of a person’s body and mind.  RA: she’s absolutely right.  Not sure what “attempted” sexual harassment is — intent and engagement in abuse was clearly present.  It is sexual harassment.  CF: for women in here, if you don’t like a guy, don’t act like you do.  Let them know from the start.  Those can be clear factors that get you in a situation you don’t want to be in.  Ladies, you have to know your boundaries too as well.
Q regarding family members and the survivor/victim – what can be done on a larger, cultural level to address family members who pressure people to retract a complaint or statement?  A – MB – never want to bring shame on your family – but we need to break that.  We don’t realize the snowball effect.  That the behavior will continue.  Might isolate one victim, but it will continue to happen.  EKB – would like campus and community authorities to speak out on this issue, ensure that people know it is right to speak out.

Q for MB – has anything been done since your experience to improve the way victims are treated in our community?  - MB: RaWR has tried to bring back the family justice center.  Literally a one-stop place for victims to receive all needed services.  Many such centers throughout the world.  Man Up Guam initiative — open to all.  We want the change to start.  Go into public school system, high schools, middle schools, start the outreach, the more we do that, the more we will see this big change.
Q – do I have to confront, forgive my abuser?  - MB – was asked this on a talk show.  Haven’t come to level of truly being able to say I forgive that person.  Think it will happen in my own due time when I am ready.  This is because I have not been able to gain any sense of closure.  Case has dragged out, such a long process!

Q for RA – how do I move on if peace and justice are unattainable? – RA: one very very small step at a time.  As a single person, very small and weak, may want to change the world.  Can’t.  But can make a difference.  To the people around us for example.  We have to take time out for ourselves, every once in a while, five minutes, a week, engage in self-care, take a deep breath.

7:48.  SSB says we have only a few minutes left.  One more Q.  Violence in the media.  Social issues in this day and age.  Dehumanization of mankind connected to the availability and abundance of violence through the media?  - CF: Statistically worldwide, men are no longer involved in the household at all.  FB – mean moms are the best.  Enforcing rules about staying off the TV.  RA – Nonviolence really, really difficult to achieve.  Spent life trying to work toward it, dedicated herself.  Violence in media not correlated necessarily with violence in life.  Society needs to talk about anger and frustration and ways to express them that are not violent.  We’re not really taught how to do that.  How to confront and overcome it in a way that’s peaceful.
Closing statements

EKB – Thank you so much to all for being here.  Please consider taking my survey or recommend to other students.  Please consider taking a look at our petition and signing it.

MB – As an educator – Parents, don’t pull away from your kids as they get older.  Need your guidance.  Middle and high school is a very vulnerable time.  MB sees it every day in public school.  You can see the difference between a student whose parents are actively involved and a student whose parents have pulled back.

CF – Thank you for having us here today.  I know those of you still here are definitely going to walk out and make that difference in the world.  If a victim, come forward, when you’re ready, and go to people that love and care for you, use the services available.

RA – Thank you from me too.  Thank you for staying until the very end.  It’s really been a pleasure and thanks for the really thoughtful questions.  I don’t live here, but I’ll be around on and off till Christmas time, so I’ll be interested to talk to any one of you and learn about your lives and whatever you think is important.  Thank you so much.

SSB – closing comments – There are timelines in reporting crimes.  Education is very important.  Important for men and women to speak up, move to the fore, make known crimes that have been done to them.  Go out and share what you have learned this evening.  Among your peers and among those your junior as well.  Very important to engage with those younger than us.  They look up to you.  You’re the role model.  You can make a difference in crimes against men and women in the future.  You are now the ambassadors of sharing that knowledge.  Good night and BIBA UOG!

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