Women’s History Month begins on Florham Campus

Nu-Kermeni Kermah

Staff Writer


Fairleigh Dickinson University began this year’s Women’s History Month with a panel discussion about sexual assault, primarily on college campuses.

The event, “Sexual Assault: Moving from Fear to Courage,” was held March 2 in Lenfell Hall.

The panel consisted of four educated and experienced individuals who study sexual assault, work with survivors, or are advocates for sexual assault victims.

One panelist was Rene Steinke, director of FDU’s creative writing MFA program and author of the novel “Friendswood.”

Steinke read parts of her book to students in order to illustrate what goes through someone’s mind after a sexual assault.

Another panelist was Jordan Nowotny, an assistant professor of criminology, whose teaching and research focus on restorative justice, mass violence and criminal justice policies.

He discussed the statistics about sexual assault against men and compared them to data about sexual assault against women.

Leidy London, a former advocate for Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), was also invited to speak. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 800-656-HOPE.

London currently is a prevention coordinator for YWCA Bergen County’s healingSPACE. As a prevention coordinator, she works to implement prevention programs throughout communities through education.

“The programs we implement address sexual violence, consent, healthy and unhealthy relationships and gender equity. I’m also an advocate, which allows me to provide emotional support, advice, extra information and options for survivors,” London said.

Also on the panel was Francesca Degiuli, an assistant professor of sociology, whose research focuses on the intersection of gender, globalization and immigration.

Along with Nowotny, Degiuli created a research project on campus to study how sexual consent is conceptualized as a practice and how universities have attempted to prevent sexual assault through consent education practices.

At the moment, they have set up 25 interviews with male students, 25 with female students and 25 with staff who will be trained to teach about sexual consent.

“They will later implement what they learn by teaching classes possibly during the university’s freshman seminar courses,” said Degiuli.

At the end of the discussion, attendees were offered information on how to prevent sexual assault and the resources available to students.

The remaining Women’s History Month events are listed in the calendar on Page 2.

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