How my Gender and Violence Class Has Impacted me this Semester:
When I walked into the first day of my Gender and Violence class this semester, I didn’t know what to expect. Way back when we were picking classes, I stumbled upon this course as I searched for something to fulfill my gender requirement. The description seemed interesting and I thought it would be just an average class with the usual amount of readings and papers to complete. I had no idea that I would be walking into a class that would change the way I go about living my life and thinking about our world as a whole.
The class outlines very specific topics in gender and violence, most of which I have not had the chance to learn extensively about throughout my educational career. Each week we cover one to two topics and are given facts and interesting media items that allow us to get a deeper understanding of the subjects at hand. So far we have discussed gender norms, gender conceptualizations, power-based personal violence (which is an umbrella term for sexual assault), domestic/dating violence, stalking, and harassment, power and control, and even sex trafficking. Since these are topics that are very powerful and may evoke emotions for some students, we end each class with a mindfulness activity; something that I never thought would be such a great addition to my life.
By far the most amazing part of this class is the discussions we are able to have and how comfortable the environment is. I usually find it very difficult to speak my mind in large group settings but our professor, Michelle Lambing, is extremely patient and understanding of what we have to say. We also started the semester by creating a list of class rules that described how we should talk to one another, what subtopics we should be wary of discussing, and being confidential about what is talked about by one another. These guidelines have created such a welcoming environment for all of us to be able to talk about how we feel and become more comfortable with one another.
If I could describe this class in one word, I would say it is empowering. I have now been given specific knowledge on topics that were never covered in my high school education and I feel more prepared to take on the world that we live in today. If more of us are informed on how to combat different types of violence in an effective way, we can make more educated decisions and help those who are truly in need of it.
If this course is available in the future, I strongly suggest taking it. It will change the way you experience college and change the way you go about your everyday life. I for one, have found myself taking what we have learned in class and sharing with friends and family so that they can also be informed on some of the things that may not have been addressed throughout their educational careers. We need to start having more active discussions on these more sensitive subjects so that we can make necessary changes in our world for the better.