CSUN students, staff and community members reclaimed their voices Thursday night as they spoke out against the trauma women of color experience after a sexual attack that is left unvoiced.
CSUN’s C.A.P.T.U.R.E.D. (Creating Awareness Productions Through Universal Research & Educational Documentaries) presented its “Shades of Silence in Trauma: Women of Color Reclaiming Our Voices” event to promote the healing and self-empowerment of women who have experienced or are recovering from the effects of trauma.
“Trauma is a broad spectrum of different issues,” said Sara Tekle, 23, C.A.P.T.U.R.E.D. president and senior majoring in psychology and Pan African Studies. “Our main focus for this event is sexual and physical abuse, but it also encompasses racial discrimination and oppression.”
The event, which was also put together by the Pan African Studies Department and DuBois Hamer Institute, featured a short documentary of women retelling their stories.
Among them was Jacquelyn Badejo, 27, a senior majoring in CTVA and a victim of rape.
“It took me a while to actually express my feelings about (rape) because I felt like I was the one that instigated it,” Badejo said. “ I started opening up about it, then I started speaking to everyone about it because now I see that’s why my mentality is the way it is. I cannot hold things in because when I hold things in it just kills me inside.”
There was also a panel of female professionals who had experienced or were familiar with someone who had been physically, emotionally or sexually abused.
They also offered legal and counseling advice as well as resources for women trying to overcome trauma.
Keynote speaker, Constance L. Jackson, a CSUN alumna and community leader explained that women are in a social conundrum. According to Jackson, the only way to be empowered is to recognize that women are vulnerable to violence and low self-esteem because of they way they are treated globally by men.
Jackson also stated the media and housholds that project women as powerless and males as powerful also contribute to females being assaulted.
Episodes like the Rihanna and Chris Brown assault as well as the R.Kelly video of him urinating on a female help desensitize society to sexual and physical abuse towards females, Jackson said.
This is the first time all three organizations have collaborated on an event themed around trauma.
“(The event) gave me some things to think about that we all know exist, but don’t really talk about all the time,” said Na’Qia Hawkins, 20, a junior majoring in Pan African Studies Arts and Literature.
Hawkins feels she is better equipped to help others who have experienced or know of someone who have gone through a traumatic event.
“We want to eliminate the silence,” said Dr. Theresa White, Director of DuBois Hamer Institute and assistant professor in the PAS department. “We really want to spread awareness and heighten consciousness for women who have experienced (trauma) or for women who have witnessed it and give them some strategies of the kinds of things they can do to heal themselves and to prevent it.”
White also invites other women who have testimonies they would like to put on camera to come forward in order to make a longer documentary and further raise awareness.