I’m serving as a board member/social media/policy reviewer for PARC. Since I come to PARC with a background in public health and social justice issues with a policy perspective, I focus on the macro legislative side of things. A lot happens in our own communities, in the national news, in our own Congress that can fly under the radar simply because our society does not know how to discuss sexual assault in just and appropriate ways. We need to seriously raise the bar on how we discuss women’s bodies which will help us all combat a culture that contributes to sexual violence.
How did you come to PARC?
Christine, the founder and president of PARC, and I were at a birth doula training together last summer. While discussing our shared personal mission for a world where all people are respected and women’s bodies are truly held in the regard they should be, she told me about her work with PARC. Violence has far reaching negative impacts on all members of a family and community extending into the country and world. Sexual violence is the gravest and most psychologically entrenched way of dehumanizing an individual and our culture adds to this attitude of women as objects. So naturally, I was very excited when she asked me to get involved.
What do you spend most of your time doing for PARC?
Lately managing social media, mostly twitter and tracking the latest advocacy on campus sexual assault. It’s been wonderful to see campus rape getting so much attention as of late, so I’ve had a lot to cover with the White House initiative and their Not Alone report, Senators Claire McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand had been incredible champion on this issue broadly in higher education and in the military so we’ve been trying to spread the awareness on how our followers can educate themselves on the topics, stay active with political organizations, and spread the word on a grassroots level.
What do you enjoy doing most at/with PARC?
I’m going to steal/agree with my colleague, Charlotte’s answer here. I really thrive on having an outlet for discussion for sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia - all aspects that contribute to a culture that condones sexual violence. Not being able to have these images be validated as “not OK” makes me, personally, feel a little bit crazy. I see images and hear conversations everywhere telling me that women’s bodies are worthless and I know in my bones that is wrong, so why aren’t we all outraged by this disrespect? The messaging of PARC validates that. The education we do ensures youth have a shot at societal attitudes around sex and gender that encourage respect and consent.
What do you do outside of PARC?
I currently work as a research associate for a health policy law firm in DC. I like to read, go to farmer’s markets and cook vegetables, listen to history podcasts, and watch documentaries. I spend time with my family who live nearby in Maryland. We visit my in-laws in Ohio pretty often. I see my 89 year young grandmother as often as I can who always tells me “Don’t work too hard” whatever that means. I live with my partner, Alison and our rescue dog, Lynnie (pictured below) who both keep me balanced.
What or how would you like to see develop for PARC in the next year?
PARC has grown and established itself so much in the past year already. I would love to get more educational programs on the calendar, more partnerships established and maybe a Board of Directors. I can’t wait to see how far we can progress in the next year!
Biggest villain in rape culture these days?
Because I spend a lot of time in the political world, I’m tempted to name someone with legislative power. If I really think about it though, the reason PARC exists is to change misogynistic attitudes wafting through the air vents of ...well, everywhere. Our approach is at the prevention level when kids are younger and getting these messages about body image and sex for the first times in their lives. So I wonder if the biggest villain is more like the average, everyday respectable school teacher or parent who a child is wanting to model themselves after who displays behavior objectifying women.
Conversely, biggest hero?
There are a lot of incredible advocates, activists, and survivors coming out more and more. I am moved by and draw inspiration and strength from Maya Angelou, Melissa Harris-Perry, Laverne Cox, Senator Kirsten Gillbrand, Kori Ciorca, Alix Olsen, Elizabeth Acevedo, the survivors I’ve met in my personal life. There is an endless list. They’re all heroes to me.
You can have any 3 people come to PARC’s weekly wednesday night meeting. Who are they? (And what snack/drink do they bring? PARC is after all pretty serious about our refreshments)
Ani DiFranco, bell hooks, and Hillary Clinton
And I’m too nervous to eat.
Favorite or one of your favorite sources of hope/joy/inspiration/commentary re: rape culture?
A quick listen to Blurred Lines parody or some Beyonce will get me inspired
Coffee or tea? Pulp or no pulp?
I start my day with green tea and then I make a veggie smoothie with kale and spinach, so definitely pulp. If it weren't for meat and cheese, I’d be a vegan.
Thing that everyone loves but you (hate/don’t love)?
Favorite time of day and what are you doing then?
Morning and I’m telling my partner or my dog (whoever will listen) about what I dreamt the night before.
Do you have any Pets Against Rape Culture? Pics or it’s not true…