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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA hosts Fearless Conference to help “empower the movement to end sexual violence”

Darien Bakas

UA students walk with a sign reading “Speak Up. Speak Out. Against Sexual Assault.” in the Take Back the Night March on Tuesday, April 12. The Dean of Students Office, Women’s Resource Center and Students Promoting Empowerment and Consent are hosting the Fearless Conference, a free one-day conference to empower the movement to end sexual violence.

The Women’s Resource Center, Students Promoting Empowerment and Consent and the Dean of Students Office are sponsoring a one-day conference to inspire participants to participate and empower the movement to end sexual violence.

The Fearless Conference is a free, all-day event for 100 passionate people from across Arizona who have been working to prevent or speak out about sexual violence. On Oct. 21 from 8:30 a.m to 7:30 p.m, panels, discussions and breakout-sessions will attempt to inspire and rejuvenate those doing work to impact communities.

The theme of the conference is “Raising Campus Voices to stop Sexual Violence.”

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The idea started when the WRC sent students to The Fearless Conference that was held at New York University in 2015 and became inspired, according to Krista Mallay, the WRC director.

She said their experiences in New York led to discussions of having a conference at the UA.

“There was lots of support for it, and people were willing to support financially a little bit,” Mallay said.

She said for the sessions, the WRC discussed what would be most effective for the conference.

Kendal Washington White, the dean of students and the assistant vice president of Student Affairs said the conference will highlight issues that occur too often in America.

“The Fearless Conference is an opportunity to raise awareness and provide education related to issues that impact too many in America, in the general community and on college campuses,” Washington White said.

Washington White said in many instances it takes someone affected for a discussion to take place.

“I am certain that most people know someone who is the survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking …” she said. “Unfortunately, we don’t discuss or take an interest in these issues until we or someone we know is impacted.”

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, many students don’t report being harassed sexually. “Nearly two-thirds of college students experience sexual harassment, and less than 10 percent of these students tell a college or university employee,” the report said.

“One in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college,” according to the report. When someone is assaulted on a college campus, 90 percent are never reported.

Mallay said she believes this conference will improve not only learning but unity with others outside of the UA.

“Definitely co-learning together and also solidarity building,” she said. “I think, as we do this work in our different respective corners on campus or across the state, we want people to feel like they have solidarity with other activists.”

Mallay said the conference can rejuvenate someone to continue their work.

“To just have a space to sit around and talk about the difficulties and the challenges,” Mallay said. “We hope people leave feeling inspired and they be recommitted in their work and re-energized to keep going.”

For the future, Mallay hopes that the conference is a step toward greater things.

“I think that this will only further the creative and interesting work that we’re doing around sexual violence prevention at the Women’s Resource Center,” Mallay said.

Follow Shaq Davis on Twitter.

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