The Womxn’s Collective, an on-campus organization, partnered with Not Alone at the Beach to bring attention to domestic violence, sexual assault and “relationship red flags” through their Rising Speaker event held Wednesday.
The event featured a presentation from the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, an organization that aims to “eliminate racism and empower women” through providing counseling, crisis intervention and other services. Case manager for the YWCA Stephanie Ramos provided the presentation on behalf of the organization and encouraged discussion with the audience by taking questions.
When asked about the importance of holding educational presentations such as this one, Ramos said “[People] often realize they’re in an unhealthy relationship after hearing our presentations. It’s about educating the community and empowering them to become independent and seek the appropriate help.”
The host of the event, The Womxn’s Collectives, offers several other community building events and resources on campus. An upcoming event, “Heart 2 Heart,” was advertised during the Rising Speaker event. The Heart 2 Heart event includes custom tote bag making and lessons about “unpacking emotional baggage” and takes place on March 22.
Topics covered during the presentation included what an unhealthy relationship looks like, understanding the cycle of abuse and more. There was an emphasis on how abuse, sexual assault and violence impacts women of color throughout the event. How to identify red flags in a relationship was the theme of the event and the main topic of discussion among the audience.
Ramos provided several examples of relationship red flags, or unhealthy behaviors that a person displays toward their partner, including disrespecting the other person’s boundaries and coercing the person to do things they don’t want to do. Along with this topic also came the importance of consent not just in terms of sex but also in regards to physical touch and romantic advances.
The presentation brought attention to the ways that sexual abuse and identity are connected. Harrowing statistics were provided during the presentation. According to studies referenced by the YWCA, Native American women are more likely to experience sexual violence than any other ethnic group and 61% of bisexual women have experienced some form of sexual or physical violence.
When asked about stats for transgender and intersex communities, Ramos explained that research is unfortunately slim and cases of sexual violence against transgender and intersex people often go unreported.
Audience members felt empowered to share their experiences during the event. One audience member shared the unhealthy mindsets people had on social media, saying, “On social media, people say things like ‘how much you’re able to put up with in a relationship shows how strong you are.”
Ramos went on to explain how negative ideas like this can do more harm for people in abusive relationships.
“You can’t fix [an abusive person], they need to fix themselves,” Ramos said.
The presentation also brought awareness to the ways that individuals in abusive and unhealthy relationships can get help and heal from it.
While the main emphasis was placed on relationship red flags and what abuse can look like, healthy relationships were discussed as well. An audience member asked what green flags, or positive behaviors, in a relationship might look like.
Ramos explained that respecting, setting boundaries and allowing the other to have their own personal space are some behaviors that signify a healthy relationship.
As the presentation came to a close, audience members asked more questions about how to make your voice heard in a relationship and how to set firmer boundaries with a significant other.