Every two minutes someone in the U.S. becomes a victim of a violent act, making 207,754 victims each year the subject Southern Utah University’s second annual Women and Gender Studies Academic Conference on March 27 and 28.
In conjunction with the 2013 theme of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, “eliminating violence against women,” SUU will give a voice to the silent in its 2013 “Men, Women & Violence: Everyone Matters” conference theme.
Of this year’s theme, conference coordinator Danielle Dubrasky said, “Physical and emotional violence can happen to anyone, no matter gender, and is an issue that can be found in every society, even ours. Violence amongst all genders is prevalent, and we want to use this conference to show how we all can do something about it.”
Leading this charge, award-winning author and journalist Michele Weldon will serve as on of this year’s keynote speaker, presenting "She is One of Us: The Myths of Domestic Violence” on March 27 at 7 p.m. in the SUU’s Great Hall within the Hunter Conference Center. Weldon’s first book, I Closed My Eyes: Revelations of a Battered Woman, tells of her own experiences as a victim of violence.
Said Weldon, “It is critical to change the mythology around domestic violence. We need to change the idea that it only to happens to ‘other women’ and to stand up and speak out that every domestic violence survivor is one of us.”
Weldon will also lead a writing workshop, “Writing a Memoir,” at 6:30 p.m. on March 28 in the Cedar City Public Library.
Dr. Catharine Richardson, a family and community therapist specializing in recovery from violence, will present an additional keynote — “What We Already Know and Do: Conversations about Dignity and Responses to Violence” — during the conference, on March 28 at noon in the Great Hall.
She will also be teaching two workshops on the same day, focusing specifically on how to help victims of violence.
The conference also includes additional presentations and workshops surrounding the topic of violence across society.
According to Dubrasky the primary goal with this year’s conference is to increase awareness and support.
“Many of us have this idea that we will never become a victim,” said Dubrasy. “But we all need to learn more about this crime because it can happen to anyone. Even if it never happens to you, this conference will teach you how to help others who have been or currently are victims of some form of abuse.”
Dubrasky and her colleagues hope to spread this discussion across the community, and both keynote speeches are free and open to the general public.
Beyond these free keynote presentations, conference charges, which will include all workshops, speeches and a luncheon, is $10 for students and SUU personnel and $60 for professionals. Online registration is open through March 22. The full conference agenda is also available online.
The University’s Provost, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Center for Women and Families and Utah Women in Higher Education are sponsoring this conference.