Helping students understand the context and history of how the #metoo movement evolved is covered in a new course taught by Dr. Jennifer Raymond, an adjunct faculty member in sociology.
The web-based course #metoo: Changing the Culture of Sexual Violence represents the first time the writing-intensive, second-year seminar course has been offered at Bridgewater State University. Twenty-one students enrolled for the initial offering.
“Often times these kinds of issues get seen as outside of what should be studied academically, but these issues are exactly what students should be studying,” Dr. Raymond said.
The course examines the grassroots efforts that are emerging to combat sexual violence in the United States and across the globe.
Dr. Raymond said, the course begins with a discussion about the rise of the #metoo movement, a campaign used on social media to spread awareness of sexual assault and harassment. It followed on the heels of many famous Hollywood actresses stepping forward and accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
“We first talk about how all these celebrities are talking, and how these things came together – how it connects, as well as what’s happening at Bridgewater and the rest of the world,” Dr. Raymond said.
The class provides the opportunity for students to air their feelings regarding sexual abuse and harassment.
“Some are angry, others are troubled and they want to know what can be done to bring about change,” Dr. Raymond said.
Throughout the course, students cover topics such as sexual violence on college campuses and harassment in the workplace. They also research global developments such as the 1995 Beijing Declaration, which was created to advance the goal of worldwide equality for women.
Other areas discussed include: The factors that perpetuate sexual violence; ways activists and communities are trying to change; sexual harassment versus assault, and how do you define the two; and the efficacy of current harassment training practices.
“There is a value to talking about these issues in an academic sense,” Dr. Raymond said. “Students have been really excited to talk about it, to connect academically to what’s happening outside of school, and to reflect on what the #metoo movement means and the connections it has to other issues.”
Dr. Raymond said the course will be offered again during fall semester.
“I want students to be inspired and think more critically about these issues,” she said. (Story by Heather Harris Michonski, University News)