1st Annual Conference on Gender-based Violence at UA


“From Betsy DeVos’s rescinding of Obama-era campus sexual assault guidelines to increasing public outcry against sexual harassment and assault, there couldn’t be a more poignant moment to discuss the most complex issues surrounding gender-based violence. At the First Annual Conference on Gender-Based Violence, we will:

-​Learn practical tools for building and participating in survivor-driven programming, activism, and advocacy
-Engage in conversation on eradicating cycles of violence and misogynistic culture
-Gain insight into how to effectively support those most vulnerable to gender-based violence

The conference will be held on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3 and SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4, at the University of Arizona Student Union. UA faculty, staff, and students, Tucson community leaders and activists, and health and legal advocates will come together to address complex issues surrounding the epidemic of gender-based violence and marginalized populations.

Workshops, keynotes, performances, and panel discussions will focus on how to build survivor-driven, intersectional activism and programs aimed at providing the best possible care to survivors while radically uprooting the social and cultural attitudes that recreate cycles of violence.

***You can register for one or both days of the conference. Please note that if you want to attend on Friday and Saturday, you must register separately for both days!!

Please direct any questions or requests for more information to Amalia C. Mora at amaliacmora@email.arizona.edu

Program Highlights
Friday, November 3, 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm — South Ballroom (Level 3)

-A performance by Tucson Girls Chorus Advanced Choir, Director Marcela Molina
-Welcome Address by Melissa Vito, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Senior Vice President for Academic Initiatives and Student Success
-Keynote by Brooke Axtell, writer, speaker, performing artist, and activist, Founder and Director of She is Rising, a healing community for women and girls overcoming rape, abuse, and sex trafficking.
-Reception and Art Exhibit Opening

Saturday, November 4, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm   – check schedule below: Sonora Room (Level 1 – basement), Union Gallery (Level 3, north side of bldg), & Kachina Room (Level 3, south side of bldg.)

* Panel Discussions:

Institutional Responses to Gender-Based Violence- sexual and domestic violence against Indigenous women; sexual assault of migrant women along the US-Mexico border; sexual assault and harassment in the military; and campus sexual assault & Title IX
Cycles of Violence and Harm- engaging with men in prevention and rehabilitation; the intersection of violence and overlapping oppressions; white masculinity in crisis; self-accountability and misogyny; incarceration and the production of harm
The Politics of Disclosure and Intersectionality-disclosure as impacted by disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, culture, documentation status, illness and profession; reporting and retraumatization; disclosure, intimate partner violence, and “betrayal”
Survivor-Driven Care and Activism- UA campus peer-to-peer engagement on dismantling cultures of non-care, including rape culture and victim blaming; avoiding retraumatization in care work; survivors as activists, peer mentors, and care providers
Practical Tools for Advocacy (Training and Talk)
Workshops on feminist social justice activism for young women and girls as well as on Patriarchy and Misogyny for young men and boys.
* Research experts including featured guest Dr. Kiera Ladner, Indigenous scholar on gender-based violence and genocide
* Guest Speakers from YWCA Southern Arizona, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, Black Lives Matter, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and more!”

Program with room assignments: http://www.uagender-basedviolenceconference.com/about.html



  1. Day 2 of an all-day session at UA Student Union, with about 65 attendees. First panel discussed institutional responses to gender-based violence — in the military/VA/DOD; at UA despite Title IX ; in Canada (murdered/missing Indigenous women); and at the US/Mexico border with immigrant women. Questions for this panel were: What has been the role of institutions, how has political climate (in US and Canada) affected institutions. 2nd panel addressed Cycles of Violence & Harm, with questions about Why is it important to understand gender-based violence; how does your work interrupt cycles of violence; how address accountability of the abuser. Questions from audience to 2nd panel were how to engage men you love in learning to be proactively nonviolent; how do men learn to be less violent/address tensions between men and women; how learn to redefine institutionalized culture; what unique opportunities exist in Tucson to prevent/respond to gender-based violence?
    Lunchtime panel was focused on UA and how to eradicate gender-based violence – questions were why does this issue matter; what is essential ingredient to do this work; what is your greatest joy; what is your persistent frustration; what do they want to see for gender-based consortium at UA (one thing). Audience questions/statements were about that there is not enough help for victims on campus; more connections needed to community; what extent have to compromise with those in power/with privilege; and also how to address white supremacy & colonialization at UA? Ambitious program today with another panel and testimonials in the afternoon. Not an easy issue for both survivors and perpetrators of violence, to address American culture and why mostly young boys learn to be aggressive and violent, and then need to re-learn this behavior. Many of the panelists agreed that prevention and education are the keys, before a crime is committed and an arrest is made.

  2. About 80 people at UA South Ballroom tonight on Day 1 to first listen to Tucson Girls Chorus sing 4 songs, then welcome by UA’s Melissa Vito who gave history of this conference, to discuss policies/practices to create a center on UA campus to reduce gender-based violence, “to make a difference”. Keynote speaker Brooke Axtell is a sexual trafficking survivor, who founded She is Rising, a global healing community for women & girls overcoming gender violence. She said she envisions survivors becoming leaders, not victims, to be “set free” as a collective voice to be reckoned with. She said that we are all told lies, that “we are not good enough”, a warfare against worth. Survivorship is defined as living with dignity, self-compassion in a sacred space in a beloved community. Male allies are needed in the dialogue on how to heal, create a new world, to trail blaze against sexism, to become “new men”, courageous warriors for justice and peace. (Wish she had told more about her own personal story and struggles to escape the sexual trafficking). Day 2 all day tomorrow conference at Student Union. Audience tonight was about half men, half women, which was encouraging as I thought it would be mostly women.

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