Gender Violence and Social Change

21 03, 2017

Student Spotlight: Carrie Bohmer

By |March 21st, 2017|Blog, Gender Violence and Social Change, Interns|0 Comments|

Get to know Gender Violence & Social Change intern, Carrie Bohmer!

Year: 4th
Major: Psychology and Women, Gender, and , Sexuality
Hometown: Richmond, VA

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
​​I think that gender based violence is 100% preventable and so it’s really important for me to try to end it. Too many people are hurt by it and I wanna be a part of fixing this. I want to be a sexual assault therapist after college and so I think also working in prevention and awareness will help me to have a well-rounded understanding of the field and topic of sexual assault.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
​​I loved the traditions that it practices and the feel of sophistication that it expels. It epitomizes what a college should feel like to me and I absolutely love it, despite any flaws it may have.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
​​The lack of diversity really surprised me when I first came here. My high school was very diverse and interesting and I definitely took that mixing of cultures and backgrounds for granted and UVA is definitely lacking in that department.

14 03, 2017

Student Spotlight: Meghan Grumbling-McKenna

By |March 14th, 2017|Blog, Gender Violence and Social Change, Interns|0 Comments|

Get to know Gender Violence & Social Change intern, Meghan Grumbling-McKenna!

Year: 3rd
Major: American Government and Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Hometown: Smithfield, Virginia

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
For years, I have been fighting against sexual and gender-based violence. Last year, I was an intern for the Women’s Center Legal Aic Clinic, and it was incredibly moving to see the impact these free clinics had within the Charlottesville community. However I wanted to engage more with the community and fight for an issue for which I care deeply. So I applied to the Gender Violence and Social Justice in hopes that I could work to eliminate, or at least decrease, sexual violence in the Charlottesville community. Sexual violence is such a pervasive issue, and has never been more relevant. I want to fight back against the notion that grabbing women by their genitals is harmless, or that it is simply locker room talk. Now, more than ever, the work of the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center is imperative to ensuring the safety of marginalized people.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
I chose UVA because of the rigorous academics, financial aid offered to me, and the opportunities attending UVA would afford me. However, I continue to attend UVA because of the level of activism I see on grounds, and the wonderful people I have met who are fighting for justice every day. I am proud to attend a university surrounded by people who are so passionate about social justice.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
I have been pleasantly surprised to find so many people at UVA with whom I can relate, and who passionate about creating sustainable change. I have found so many organizations and groups that are constantly working to make the University and the world a better place, and that’s incredibly heartwarming to me.

14 09, 2016

Student Spotlight: Triston Smith

By |September 14th, 2016|Gender Violence and Social Change, Interns|0 Comments|

Get to know Gender Violence and Social Change intern, Triston Smith!

Year: 2nd
Major: WGS and either Neuroscience or Cognitive Science
Hometown: Kesyville, VA

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I am passionate about the Gender Violence and Social Change program because I and many of my much-loved friends and family members are survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. I think that it is up to everybody to put in the work that it takes to make sure that these problems are something that we, as a society, no longer turn a blind eye to or blame survivors for. It is all of our duty to make sure that the world is a safe place for all of its inhabitants.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
I chose UVA because I was lucky enough to get a scholarship here AND in-state tuition. All of my other schools only offered one or the other.

24 02, 2016

Student Spotlight: Mary Stoney

By |February 24th, 2016|Blog, Gender Violence and Social Change|0 Comments|

Get to know Gender Violence and Social Change intern, Mary Stoney!

What do you miss the most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
I definitely miss movie nights with my family and dogs the most. My brother, sister and I usually end up having to sit on the floor because our dogs are such princesses that they have to have the whole couch.

Why are you passionate about the Women’s Center?
I have always been passionate about working with victims of domestic violence. In my hometown, Fairfax, VA, I have been working with Domestic Violence Action Center as a volunteer for a number of years. DVAC is an amazing organization that, among other things, sends court advocates and provides therapy for victims of domestic violence. Most of the people involved in DVAC work for the Office for Women in Fairfax or the Women’s Center. Last summer, I was invited to work with a new DV organization in Bolivia called Fundacion Patricia – Mi Cuerpo, Mi Tesoro. That experience was incredible, as it opened my eyes to the universality of domestic violence, but it also showed me that DV manifests itself differently in different countries and cultural contexts and that it is incredibly important to be sensitive to those differences. I love working with the Women’s Center, especially with the Gender Violence Social Change team, because I get to continue that work. The Women’s Center has also allowed me to work for victims in ways that I had not yet experienced. I now work as an activist, helping organize campaigns, like the Red Flag Campaign and Domestic Violence Awareness Month both to prevent domestic violence from occurring and to show widespread, rather than individual, support for victims. I have also been fortunate enough to be able to work with the Men’s Leadership Project through the Gender Violence Social Change team. I have never worked with a large group of men working with gender issues, and it is incredibly empowering. Without the Women’s Center, I would not have been able to expand my work in this way.

16 02, 2016

Catching up with Women’s Center Alumni, Sara Duke Grey!

By |February 16th, 2016|Blog, Gender Violence and Social Change|0 Comments|

Read the latest and greatest from Sara Duke Grey!

When did you attend UVA? What did you study?
I was at UVA from Fall 2007 through Spring 2011. I got a bachelors of arts in sociology and completed pre-med and pre-nursing science courses.

What work did you do with the Women’s Center?
I was an intern with Claire Kaplan in the Sexual and Domestic Violence Services (Now Gender Violence and Social Change) internship for 2 years. I was also a member and the President of SAFE throughout my time at UVA so we did all sorts of education and different awareness based projects in the UVA community.

What are you doing now?
After going to UVA I headed to Vanderbilt School of Nursing and got my masters in nursing. So now I am a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. With my advanced degree I work at Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington as a nurse practitioner. I also work as a labor and delivery nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD.

I also am now married to a fellow UVA alumni, John Grey. He graduated from the Curry School in 2011, and we live in Alexandria, VA, where he is an elementary school special education teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools.

What was your very first job and what’s something you learned from it?
The first job I ever, ever had was as a nursing assistant at a pediatric doctors office. There I learned/earned a passion for helping people and medical care. My first job out of UVA was as a labor and delivery nurse at Holy Cross. I learned that work is what you make it and if you come every day with a good attitude, ready to work hard, you won’t feel like you’re working at all. It will also pay off – within 2.5 years of working at Holy Cross I have been trained as a charge nurse and given positions of extra responsibility.

9 12, 2015

Student Spotlight: Mayura Iyer

By |December 9th, 2015|Blog, Gender Violence and Social Change, Interns|0 Comments|

Get to know Gender Violence and Social Change intern, Mayura Iyer!

Year: “5th year” (Batten 5-year BA/MPP Program)
Major: Foreign Affairs Class of 2015/Master of Public Policy Class of 2016
Hometown: Vienna/Reston, VA

What do you miss the most about your hometown when you’re at U.Va.?
I grew up next door to my cousins and my aunt and uncle, and so I miss having that big family presence when I’m not at home – but it also means coming home for the holidays like Thanksgiving is the best part of my year.

What drew you to the Women’s Center and your program?
Violence against women has always been an issue close to my heart, and the Women’s Center commitment to social justice, particularly within the Charlottesville community, is something that resonates deeply with me. Having been here for 5 years, Charlottesville has become my second home, and being a GVSC intern felt like the best way to give back to a community that has done so much for me.

9 12, 2015

Women’s Center’s Claire Kaplan Honored with Bernard D. Mayes Award

By |December 9th, 2015|Blog, Gender Violence and Social Change|0 Comments|

Serpentine Society Leaders

Marcus Martin, VP and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity, (2nd from left) joins Serpentine Society Board Members (left to right) Blakely Calhoun, Sharon McGowan and Brendan Wynn

On November 7, 2015, members of the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center’s staff had the pleasure of attending the Serpentine Society’s Fall Gala and seeing their long-serving colleague, Claire Kaplan, recognized for her contributions to the University’s LGBTQ community.

The Serpentine Society, an Alumni Interest Group of the University of Virginia Alumni Association, gives several scholarships and awards at this annual event where students, faculty, staff and alumni gather to honor the recipients, celebrate the successes of the society and its members, and encourage continued efforts to advance LGBTQ equality at the University.

anne broccoli

Anne Broccoli, Director, Faculty & Staff Benefits

The awards given by the Serpentine Society this year began with the presentation of the V. Shamim Sisson Ally Award to Anne Broccoli, the University’s Director of Faculty and Staff Benefits. Anne’s work has been important in the area of benefits equity for LGBTQ employees and their families. Shamim Sisson, for whom this award is named, has long been actively engaged with the Women’s Center’s work and our staff members attending the gala were glad to see Anne receive the award that bears Shamim’s name.

Everyone was touched by the presentation of the Serpentine Society’s Outstanding Service Award to Robert D. Sweeney, Senior Vice President of University Advancement. Bob was generous in sharing how unprepared he had been years ago to learn that one of his two sons is gay. He relayed how his initial misgivings had given way to an understanding of the challenges that LGBTQ youth face growing up and a sense of how important it is for schools to have the resources to support them. Bob was specifically recognized by the society for his unflinching leadership of an LGBTQ-inclusive organization that has driven successful fundraising campaigns for LGBTQ student scholarships, the LGBTQ Center, and LGBTQ Studies in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality program in Arts & Sciences.

The capstone of the evening was the presentation of the prestigious Bernard D. Mayes Award for excellence in public service to the LGBTQ community to Mark Herring (Col. 1983, Grad. 1987), Virginia Attorney General, and Claire Kaplan (Curry 1991), the program director for Gender Violence and Social Change at the Women’s Center.

30 10, 2015
  • Ulester Douglas
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    Ulester Douglas discusses engaging men in ending gender-based violence as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Ulester Douglas discusses engaging men in ending gender-based violence as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By |October 30th, 2015|Events, Gender Violence and Social Change|0 Comments|

As a result of the hard work of our Gender Violence and Social Change team, the Women’s Center sponsored events all through October in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. From a viewing and discussion of 50 Shades of Grey to displaying survivors’ stories on the lawn through the Clothesline Project, our interns worked hard to facilitate conversations on Grounds about gender-based violence.

Ulester Douglas, Executive Director of Men Stopping Violence, came to Grounds to take part in this important dialogue and share his own insight into violence prevention.

Ulester packed several sessions into his day on Grounds, meeting with several classes and organizations before his keynote speech, “Engaging Men in Preventing Male Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Against Women: Opportunities and Challenges!”

Throughout the day, there was one thing Ulester emphasized time and again, with every class, organization, and group he met: In order to be successful in preventing gender based violence, you must look beyond the individual committing these acts of violence and at the communities and institutions surrounding them.

He was met with many questions about Men Stopping Violence’s 24-week intervention program that engages with men from the criminal justice system who have committed gender-based violence. Many asked how it worked, how receptive the men were, and how successful it was. To which Ulester pointed out their insistence on looking at the problem on the individual level.

He drew a diagram for students, illustrating the different levels you must look at when addressing the problem of violence including the individual level, primary community, micro level, macro level, and global community. Although the work of Men Stopping Violence’s intervention program is an important part of the organization, their true work and focus lies within the level of the primary community. In describing himself Ulester said, “It’s not just a job. It’s a passion and commitment to social change. At the heart I am a community organizer with a clinical background.”

Students discussed masculinity, rigid gender roles, and gender policing in order to confront the way men are socialized to think of themselves in relation to women. Ulester noted, “The most potent thing to make a man feel horrible is to compare him to a woman or woman’s body part.” Ulester drew connections between heterosexism, sexism, and violence against women in order to make it clear that you cannot end violence against women until you confront it structurally.

21 10, 2015

Student Spotlight: Amber Wang

By |October 21st, 2015|Blog, Gender Violence and Social Change, Interns|0 Comments|

Get to know Gender Violence and Social Change intern, Amber Wang!

Year: Second Year
Major: Undeclared (interested in Psychology and Women, Gender, Sexuality studies)
Hometown: Manassas, VA

What do you miss most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
I miss my family most because they’re the ones that keep me grounded and are always there for me when I’m upset. They also think that I can do anything I set my mind to, which is nice to have, especially during times I might not feel the same way about myself.

Why are you passionate about the Women’s Center?
I’m passionate about the Women’s Center because it consists of really caring and compassionate individuals who want to help others in need that may go unnoticed in everyday life.

5 10, 2015

University’s Title IX Coordinator Visits Women’s Center

By |October 5th, 2015|Blog, Gender Violence and Social Change, Legal Clinic|0 Comments|

In the long run, the level of attention brought to the issue of sexual assault nationally and locally over the past couple of years is bound to be a good thing. While difficult discussions and decisions continue to be broached in the public arena and in the private settings in which survivors seek formal services and informal support, here are just a couple of points of agreement that can help to ground us all.

One thing we know is that the long run is likely to be quite long indeed in coming. Experienced providers of services for survivors and seasoned advocates for more informed and effective policies know that we won’t quickly resolve the many, interrelated challenges we face in the realm of gender-based violence. Students, faculty, administration, parents and alumni all have a role to play in sustaining attention to the issue of sexual assault at the level it merits despite the ups and downs of news cycles.

Another thing of which we can be sure is that it will continue to be true that schools, service providers, survivors and their supporters find themselves in an exceedingly complex landscape of laws, regulations and policies on gender-based violence. The civil rights implications of gender-based violence in educational settings, professional confidentiality standards, the workings of the criminal justice system, best-practices for supporting survivors, communities’ interest in data that can help to promote safety, and other factors inform the procedures followed in different but intersecting realms.