Earlier this month, Laura Lockwood, the Director of Trinity College’s Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC) visited HMTCA students. Working with Trinity College alumna Mel Cavanaugh (T ’11) and HMTCA history teacher, Laura visited with the school’s Young Womens Club. Here is a short interview with Laura about her visit to HMTCA as the Director of WGRAC.
Q: Why did you visit the Womens Club at HMTCA?
Laura: Over the past four years, either me or a Trinity student have been invited to talk about the issues of consent and related topics at the girls clubs annual conference in the spring. This occasion was to talk to them after they had watched The Hunting Ground, which deals with the incidence of sexual assaults on college campuses and the efforts of some schools to discourage reporting or to protect alleged assailants.
The film ends positively with survivors across the country organizing to hold college administrations accountable. Hence the organizations: Stop Rape on Campus; Know your IX. WGRAC has had the latter group to campus. The discussion turned to victim shaming between girls and why that happens; why women/girls wait to come forward; #MeToo; and more. One 9th grader asked if she could volunteer at WGRAC!
Q: What did you share with the group this time?
Laura: Mostly I helped them with the difficult answers to the questions I just listed plus how talking about an incident can not only help them but others. I helped them learn how to support each other and how to seek help. We talked about consent, social media, power versus attraction (sexual assault is about power and intimidation and violence).
At WGRAC we want to show the girls what a “women’s center” looks like and how our students make it their space; what a respectful space is; what we do and how our main objective is to help students find and grow their voice and agency. We will have food and continue the conversation we started last week. I’d love it if the girls left feeling more powerful and positive about what the can they can do to create change at their school, among their friends and in their community.
Q: What are your next steps with group?
Laura: The club is visiting WGRAC at Trinity College on Feb. 27th at 3pm. They are walking over after school. We will be continuing our conversation about the film, The Hunting Ground.
The responses have been lightly edited for clarity. This interview is a collaboration between CHER, HMTCA Partnership, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Community Fellow, Robert Cotto, Jr.