Monday, March 9, 2015

New York Day 2 - Dana

Today was Consultation Day - essentially introducing all the NGOs to one another and hearing more about BPFA and CSW. The day was filled hearing from amazing speakers from all over the world. The speaker that left the biggest impression on me was a woman from India, Ruchira Gupta. She had been a reporter in India and did a story on sex trafficking, which led her to do a documentary exposing the injustices that many of the trafficked women had faced. Her work with the documentary led her to found an NGO that works with trafficked women. Her speech focused on how we need to make policy that supports "the last girl" - the last girl who is left marginalized and oppressed. It reminded me that all my work on creating sex-positive education requires a certain level of privilege: that women can choose who and when they choose to have sex. For the women Ruchira works with, they just want the freedom to not have coercive sex or be raped. That hit home for me. It'll be interesting as I continue through this week to have more of these interactions that make me think about policy that doesn't just serve one group of people who are privileged from experiencing the worst of violence (which doesn't devalue or negate their experiences I might add) - how do we extend this to the last girl? How do we make policy that every woman and girl can access?

Another interesting thing I noticed today was the way people asked questions of the speakers. Most of them weren't questions, they were someone getting up and explaining all the work that they do and listing off their accomplishments, and then at the end of a several minute statement asking a question that didn't relate to what the speakers had talked about and seemed pretty self-centered. One woman didn't even ask a question: she got up and made a five minute statement about something that had happened on a previous panel. Im finding this so interesting - apparently this happens with a level of frequency. I wish that people would instead listen to what the panelists had to say and ask questions that directly touched on the panelists' content - asking a question isn't the time to be self-advertising or sharing your life story. Seeing this happen today is definitely something I'll take into consideration as I ask questions this week. There is a delicate balance between introducing yourself so they know who you are, and commandeering the session or q&a portion to make it about yourself.

This has been a great day, and I am so excited for tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. "The last girl". Sounds like Ms. Gupta had some presentation training from someone like our Stephanie! Pretty powerful.
    The tooting your own horn instead of asking a question does not only happen at CSW. It is common at many conferences. That's why many conference planners now require people to write their questions on a 3x5 note card, and let it be delivered to the speaker for an answer. Keeps on-topic and benefits the audience's learning. I know you will use that experience and ask great questions.
    Two different worlds of your topic of sexual assault--those who are sex slaves, and those who are assaulted by someone they know. Would be interesting to know the worldwide percentages of each. Have a great day.