National Organization for Women 2011 Conference in Tampa looks at violence listen06/27/11 Lachelle Roddy
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NOW is a national advocacy group focusing on fighting all forms of sex discrimination. NOMAS, the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, joined NOW and kicked off the weekend with a panel on feminist men in relationships. Ben Atherton-Zeman, the director of Voices for Men, said women have an understandable reason to still question the motives of feminist men.
One member of the Young Feminist Task Force, Micah Bochart, said feminist men have a responsibility to speak out against sexist crimes.
Neveen El-Nawawy is a Muslim community activist. She thinks women in Middle-Eastern states which manufacture oil -- or places with a higher standard of living -- are less likely to speak out about violence. She also says Islam and Feminism are not conflicting ideals as some would think.
Jerin Arifa, a NOW board member, said Americans should focus more on stopping the abuse of the women in their own backyard rather than the women in the Middle East.
A psychologist for sexual abuse, Juanita Baker, was a member of the audience during one panel discussion. Baker compared how Americans judge rape victims and how they dress with the way Islamic women are judged on their cultural dress. Amala Abdur-rahman, a recent law grad and member of CAIR-Tampa, said she wears her hijab as a way of expressing her American rights.
Fewer than five percent of sexual violence victims report the abuse to their school campus, according to one of the speakers, Holly Kearl, author and founder of Stop Street Harassment. Kelly Addington, CEO and President of One Student, said students should enact change and encourage their schools to join the No Woman Left Behind Campaign, an organization dedicated to stopping sexual violence against women.
The group Girls Inc. of Pinellas received the Girl Powered Media award for taking a stand against a sexually explicit billboard on 66th street. Girls Inc. takes the position that there is a correlation between sexual images of women and the violence their generation is facing. Melanie Campbell, the president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, motivated the crowd with a victory chant.