Published on April 23, 2015.
When Harriet Kenderdine, a long-time member of the League of Women Voters of Lancaster County, died, she did something rather spectacular: she set aside funds so that lecturers could attend public events on behalf of the LWV, underwriting the costs as long as the speaker was representative of their ideals, which include educating voters and promoting the advancement of civil rights, according to the LWV’s 2013 spring bulletin. The lectures are hosted by Millersville University.
The 2015 Harriet Kenderdine Lecture was held April 14 at the Bolger Conference Center in Gordinier Hall. The lecture featured five events: the breakout sessions, an information fair, a performance by singer/songwriter Daryl Snider, a keynote presentation by Abigail Hurst and a panel response, which closed out the event. The theme of this lecture was sexual assault—preventing it, and aiding those who have been through it.
The breakout sessions were 30-minutes long with time allotted for an attendee to participate in one or two sessions. The sessions included “The State of Campus Sexual Assault,” “Empowering Women to Begin Again,” “Silencing the Violence: LGBTQ Communities Speak Out” and “Masculinity and Attitudes Towards Violence.”
“The State of Campus Sexual Assault” featured Diane Moyer of the PA Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), and she talked of policy developments as well as how PCAR raises awareness and aids victims of sexual assault and rape. “Millersville University has a good reputation for handling sexual assault,” Moyer said. “[But] it’s our responsibility to watch out for one another… [Clothing] is not an invitation for rape.” She also stressed the importance of keeping people from using malicious language.
“Empowering Women to Begin Again” was brought about by Trish Nabors and Amanda Funk of New Choices and spoke of their organization, which works with women faced with adversity. New Choices helps women transition back into the community, showing the importance of education and skill building, and helps with employment.
“Silencing the Violence: LGBTQ Communities Speak Out” talks of the dating violence in the LGBT+ community. Ed Hirtzel, Anastasia Kraus and Shaq Glover brought the audience to the attention that dating violence and sexual assault are usually believable in the eyes of those in heterosexual relationships. It was also mentioned that the LGBT+ community lacks statistics on the amount of people actually being abused. “If you don’t know it, you can’t fix it,” Kraus said.
“Having inclusive definitions of rape are so important,” Hirtzel said. “A lot of the times, queer rapes won’t be prosecuted… It’s not okay for any two people to abuse each other, regardless of gender or sexual identity; we need to change our vocabulary.”
For the “Masculinity and Attitudes Toward Violence” breakout session, Ismail Smith Wade-El talked about society’s constructs about men and women, and their views towards domestic violence and sexual assault.
Afterwards, attendees were gestured towards the Lehr Dining Room, which featured catering and an information fair, featuring organizations on and off campus, such as Safe Places; Love146; Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, which recently hosted the event hu-MAN Up; Millersville’s Center for Health Education and Promotion; Domestic Violence Service of Lancaster County and the WLV of Lancaster County. Singer/songwriter Daryl Snider played his guitar while attendees ate.
“Tonight, we honor the life of Karlie Hall,” said Dr. Diane Umble, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, starting off the Keynote Presentation. The Keynote speaker was Abigail Hurst, Policy Specialist for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV). She spoke a little bit on what the PCADV does, and how it impacts the community, mentioning that it was the nation’s first violence coalition.
“As a young professional, it’s really amazing to help with social change,” Hurst said.
“This is not just a women’s issue,” she said, mentioning that abuse happens to men and women. She shared victims’ stories, and talked about the kinds of things the PCADV does to help women and men affected by domestic violence. “[Events like] this show the university wants to make a change.”
The panel afterwards featured Karen Rice, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Social Work Department, Heather Girvin, Assistant Professor of the Social Work Department and Hurst. They opened the floor to any questions the audience may have. “These issues are our issues,” Rice said. Girvin talked of how violence was a characteristic of contemporary society, among many other things.
To close out the lecture for the night, Umble came back to the forefront of the room and thanked everyone for coming. She reiterated the importance of being aware of the goings-on of the community. “Each one of us can make a difference,” Umble said.
April is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Show your support by wearing the color teal. If you or someone you know needs to talk about sexual assault, please contact the police or Counseling Services at 717-872-3122.