Tag Archives: gender


Over the past several months, women and men have been coming forward with their own personal stories of sexual harassment. With the help of social media, #MeToo stories are spreading.

“I think we all are having a moment right now,” CSUN Title IX Coordinator Susan Hua said. “Whether a survivor is male or female, I think people are breaking the silence … You’re seeing sports figures, you’re seeing politicians, and men in powerful positions, being held accountable for sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. I think [#MeToo is] really giving not only a voice through social media and technology and how that’s impacting this movement, but also allowing people who might not have spoken up years ago … to feel like now there’s support for them.”

The #MeToo movement has encouraged many people to speak up about sexual harassment, and that lets even more victims know that they are not alone.

“I talked to several women who had kept information to themselves for 40 or 50 years, but now feel like coming out,” said Betsy Butler, Executive Director of the California Women’s Law Center. “More than that, they’re ready to make change happen, and it starts with policing. So many levels of action need to take place now, and mindsets [need to] change here in this country. It’s a different culture we need to look at.”

Bringing conversations about sexual violence into the mainstream helps remove the stigma for survivors, by showing how sexual harassment has affected the lives of many men and women.

“Part of the oppression of women is that we think we’re alone, and we think that our personal difficulties, or our harassment stories or whatever, are individual, and they never are.” CSUN Gender and Women’s Studies Professor Jennifer Berry said. “I think this is what the MeToo movement has done, is [demonstrate] that you are not alone. Not only are you not alone, we’re building an army.”

Despite the numbers of people coming out with their own personal stories, a lot of victims have not come forward, and Hua said some may not know how to bring grievances or talk about their experiences. She said students and faculty at CSUN are able to report any sexual harassment case through the Title IX Office.

“We have done extensive training, with both our students and employees, making sure that students know who they can go to as confidential resources here on campus,” Hua said. “That’s usually our counselors, our mental health advisors, and our victims advocate on campus…. Knowing the different resources [survivors] can access on campus [helps, and] I think we are seeing an increase of survivors who feel that they are ready to talk about their experiences, and as they are continuing to process their experiences, to get help, and to hold individuals accountable.”

But it still may be hard for some victims to come forward with their story, even if they have the resources and people available to them.

“Some women will never come forward,” Butler said. “You know, a lot of these situations [involve people whom] they know, and so they have to grapple with whether they want to bring it all out in the open. These aren’t generally strangers, particularly on campus, who have assaulted them or harassed them.”

Hua said that students’ cultural backgrounds and legal status can also be a factor.

“CSUN is such a diverse community,” she said, “and we have undocumented students who may not want to go above the radar, even though they have been victimized … Or we have cultural differences, in which someone, for example, from an Asian culture, might feel like [they] can’t talk about it, because that’s airing [their] dirty laundry or bringing shame to [their] family.”

Legal experts said movements like #MeToo are only the beginning, and that much more needs to happen in order to prevent sexual harassment.

“I think we can do better,” Berry said. “I think we can have higher expectations of men; I think we can believe women, and work with young people and care deeply about their lives. I think us older people [need] to remember how young and hopeful we all start out, and keep that hope alive.”

Moderator: Heatherann Wagner

Producer: Haley Spellman

Anchor: Lauren Turner Dunn

Social Media Editors: Cammeron Parrish and Jacob Gonzalez

Reporters: Jacob Gonzalez, Katherine Molina, Cammeron Parrish, Haley Spellman, Lauren Turner Dunn and Heatherann Wagner

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Breaking the Bathroom Boundaries

CSUN’s University Student Union took some steps forward recently, in terms of equality and inclusion, by installing two gender-inclusive restrooms in the Oasis Wellness Center.  Now some students are saying it is not enough.

The restrooms serve as the only gender-inclusive restrooms on a campus with a student population of over 40,000.

“I didn’t even know we had gender inclusive restrooms at the Oasis Center until last week,” said Alex Soto, president of Gamma Rho Lambda. “Having gender-inclusive bathrooms really helps me feel better about my self-esteem and my identity.”

To some, the idea of going into a gendered bathroom can be intimidating. The Williams Institute found that 70 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming respondents experienced harassment at least once while using public restrooms.

“So many times I go into the female restroom, and it’s like ‘What are you?’” Soto said. “You know, ‘What kind of creature are you?’ It almost seems that way. I don’t fit into either binary.”

Soto said implementing more gender-inclusive restrooms throughout all 29 on-campus buildings would alleviate the stress felt by many in the trans community.

“It’s about comfort and personal safety,” said Nia Clark, a coordinator at Lifeworks at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “A lot of trans folks don’t feel comfortable using certain bathrooms. Wouldn’t it be great to use a bathroom where you don’t have to worry about how you look to others?”

Clark said stereotypes often have a lot to do with the perception of who should and shouldn’t be in particular bathrooms.

“There is a negative stereotype about me coming into the restrooms, and doing inappropriate things with my body, or exploiting a young person, or being exploitive toward other women, and I think there’s this misconception right there: that when we’re in there, we are there to do more than go to the bathroom,” Clark said. “We use the bathroom for the same reasons everyone else uses the bathroom, and I think once people are able to actually get some knowledge about the community, they will understand why it is a necessity to have that bathroom.”

In August 2013, California Assembly Bill 1266 made it a state law  “that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”

“This actually stipulates that legally young people, when attending school or in a school setting, have an actual right, a legal right, to have affirming spaces regardless of their gender identity or expression,” Clark said.

Educating people about the lives of the LGBTQ and trans community will make a difference in their mindset and eventually the policies surrounding large organizations.

“When I train people, what I say to them is … [to compare this issue to their] … college experience,” Clark said. “When young people attend school and don’t necessarily know what they want to study, there is a category for that: it would be ‘undecided’ or ‘general studies’.  So academia has an understanding that young people don’t necessarily fit into one category, or don’t necessarily know what’s going to work for them. And if the university can provide and accommodate for that, why can’t we do the same for where they use the bathroom?”

Freddie Sanchez, assistant director for the Resource Center at the University Student Union, said the USU is looking at what students need in order to be successful, and restrooms are part of that.

“I think we…have an ability to continue to work with our students to see what the needs are,” said Sanchez. “If we need additional gender inclusive restrooms and different facilities, that’s something that we would look towards to sort of change and implement, but there’s a process.”

Moderator: Jamie Perez

Anchor: Juaneeq Elliott

Producer: Jamie Perez

Social Media Editors: Ala Errebhi and Caitlin Pieh

Reporters: Noemi Barajas, Halie Cook, Juaneeq Elliot, Jamie Perez and Nicholas Seaman

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