Reflection 12/10/17

This weekend my learning was different than the last retreat because I had to learn to listen to other people’s ideas about shifting our group focus a way I had not expected it to go. The idea was brought up that we should try to analyze the effects of rape culture in high schools in Vermont rather than colleges since that’s where we are “experts”. At first it was hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that the documentary wasn’t going to be exactly what I had imagined it would be – but I told myself that I need to take a step back and listen to the other members of my group. After observing the discussion for a bit I started to get behind the high school focus. I definitely had to approach this (minor) conflict with a collaborative mindset. The article, “High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create it” by Laura Delizonna articulates what it takes to work in this mindset. Delizonna instructs the reader in a conflict to think, “How could we achieve a mutually desirable outcome?” That is what I thought of during our topic change. I thought well, everybody here wants to create a documentary to raise awareness about rape culture and the systemic oppression of women through sexual harassment and violence, so I should listen to them. I ended up really liking the idea, and while I’m not entirely sure about how it will piece together, I think getting started on the interviews will start to unravel the story of our documentary.

I think without even realizing it, our group touched upon a lot of the ideas presented by Psychologist Jonathan Haidt in the TED talk, “The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives.” He spoke about “step outside of our moral matrix”, which to me means expanding the perspectives we consider to be true beyond those than align with our own values. I think it’s safe to say everyone in our group is fairly liberal, and our group being centered on a topic that revolves around a form of oppression of marginalized identities completely encompasses what liberals are all about: speaking for the weak and oppressed to strive for fairness and equality. Conservatives care more about traditions and preserving institutions in order to maintain order, but sometimes at the cost of those at the bottom. Not even sometimes… all of the time. However, I think if you asked any conservative, they would say they like the institutions we have and don’t love the oppression of marginalized communities. However, they just think institutions are more important to preserve than minority rights, given a choice. What if we presented an idea of a world where we could preserve the systems (best we could) while improving upon the oppression of marginalized groups? Who said this was impossible?? It is absolutely 100% not impossible. We can appeal to the desire of conservatives to preserve stability and prevent chaos by maintaining the system, while also advocating for the liberal desire to guarantee equal human rights and liberties for all. The question we are asking then is – can society exist without rape culture? why are preservation of the system and protecting marginalized people’s rights mutually exclusive? can we prove that they are not???

How do we tackle rape culture for the next generation? At the time in their lives where they are first being introduced to sexual relationships. By teaching them the absolute and utter importance of consent and safe relationships. This is when kids are developing a lot of ideas about what sexual relationships and relationships in general should be like for them for the rest of their lives. This also attaches to the idea of how to prove to people this issue is of universal important. Why is it a pressing issue??? people dont realize the lifelong affects sexual trauma has on a person. on our communities. on our workforce, our families, our society. What a victim has to deal with. what it feels like to feel unsafe and vulnerable in every situation they’re  in. the psychological effects of trauma, the emotional, mental, on a person. For society it creates, yes, a disgusting culture but what else is rape culture proven to do? inhibit women from entering (or being allowed to enter) the workforce?  There are probably way more effects but I dont know them. how do we make our audience believe that rape culture affects them? connects to them? bothers them? hurts them? bc ppl are self centered and will mostly respond to a problem if they think it directly affects them i guess

My group started to consider what could happen when we talked to administrators – we could end up seeing that an administrator, legislator, or school faculty we originally thought was “bad” and “the problem” is actually a well meaning person who is somewhat restricted by the system. We discussed a bit about how two pieces of the puzzle may be failing in that instance: the system itself, and also that administrator/school faculty. Maybe they live in a gray zone where they really could be doing better. so its that idea of not entering any interviews thinking youre interviewing the bad guy. Just exploring whats not great about the system and/or them

Zoe Prue

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